Every now and then I like to write about what’s going on in my life so that you get an idea of where I’m coming from, and the experiences that are shaping the thoughts that go into my other post. The last update I gave you was back in May, when I’d just sat the last exam of my degree (it’s crazy to think that that was four months ago already), and the focus of that post was mostly on the end of my University of Nottingham experience, and a summary of how my three years had gone.
Now it’s September again, and the next wave of freshers are just a couple of weeks away from arriving in Nottingham. It’s time for me to look ahead to the next 12 months, which is undoubtedly going to be one of the busiest, but hopefully most rewarding and exciting, years of my life. In this post I’m going to talk about what will probably be three of the most prominent things in my life in the year ahead: my new job with Impression, the Discipleship Year (DY) at Trent Vineyard, and, of course, my recent engagement.
I’ve recently written about the story of how I came to be at Impression, so if you don’t know it, I recommend having a skim over that article before you go any further. For three days a week (alongside the two I’ll do for DY) I’ll be working as an Account Executive at Impression, working primarily on SEO. I appreciate that for some people, what I’ve just said won’t mean a thing, so I’ll explain a little bit about what it is that I’ll be doing.
Impression is a digital marketing agency, so we have a lot of client companies that come to us for help with their digital marketing – you can see a bit more about us here. Essentially, they want more exposure online, whether that’s through paid ads on search engines, higher natural search engine rankings, or exposure through articles and content (PR). I mostly work on improving clients’ search engine rankings – search engine optimisation (SEO). As an executive, I work with the Account Managers on their clients, doing whatever they need me to do. Practically that means a lot of research into what our clients’ target market is searching for, improving their websites to make them better for customers and search engines, and writing lots of articles to get them a good level of exposure in the online destinations their audiences are visiting.
It’s a fun job, with a lot of variety, but the best thing about it is the company itself. I’m not just towing the party line when I say that one of Impression’s greatest strengths is treating its employees with a great deal of respect, and creating a place where people want to come and work and perform well. It’s exactly the kind of working environment that I want to be in straight out of uni; it’s one where I feel very welcome, and able to learn new skills at the same time as growing in the strengths that I already have.
When I’m not at Impression during the working week, I’ll be at Trent Vineyard church on their Discipleship Year. The year kicked off this week with a couple of days in the Peak District, and I am super excited for what lies ahead.
Compared to Trent’s normal DY intake, my year is a small year, with only 11 of us involved. Until July 2017, we’ll be getting stuck into the life and workings of the church even more than we are now, learning how the different ministry areas work, spending time in the Arches (Trent’s charity), working on a specific stream (more on that in a sec) and receiving teaching as we grow together as a group.
Throughout my time on DY, I’ll remain heavily involved with the student work that the church does. I led a student small group throughout my second and third years of uni, and now that I’ve graduated, I’ll be leading this year’s freshers group along with two others.
I’m also doing the student stream on DY. Trent’s DY year has 5 streams (students, kids, youth, compassion, and newcomers) and each person on the year is assigned to one of these streams. Every Thursday afternoon we spend time in the ministry area associated with our stream, working with the staff members and volunteers that work there and helping them with whatever they need.
I’m very excited about continuing to work with students. The church itself already has a phenomenal group of students involved, and there is so much potential to make a difference in people’s lives when they come to university. I’ll be honest, I’m still pretty nervous about leading the freshers’ small group – up until now I’ve always led groups primarily made up of people in my uni year group – but I’m excited at the same time, and I know that God will have big plans for whoever he brings to Trent next year.
I think the thing that makes me most excited about DY is that over the last couple of days in the Peaks I undeniably encountered God. I was on what some Christians call a spiritual high. When we were preparing to head back to Nottingham, I was sad that our time away was coming to an end, but then I remembered that I’m going to be with these people, growing closer to and serving God, for the next year! Granted, I’m not going to feel on top of the world every week – that just doesn’t happen – but I am confident that as a group we’re going to grow closer together, and fall even more in love with God, and that is how I want to be spending my time.
For those of you that don’t know, I got engaged two weeks ago! The featured image for this post is the Fitzalan Chapel garden at Arundel Castle, and it was on that path that I proposed. My fiancée, Abbie, and I have been together for over two years now, and I felt (and Abbie obviously agreed) that it was time to take a big step forward in our relationship, and start planning to get married. With the big day hopefully happening around August next year, the next 11 months are going to be full of wedding planning, along with everything else that’s happening in our lives!
It’s crazy how quickly things started moving as soon as Abbie said yes, and in a couple of weeks we hope to have a date and venues confirmed. If I’m honest, I have very little clue what I’m doing! But thankfully Abbie is very on it, and has done an incredible job getting the ball rolling so far. She 100% brings out the best in me, and however hectic the next year is for both of us (Abbie will be pretty busy herself with a Masters) the thought that this time next year we’ll be married is nothing short of mind-blowing, and I can’t wait.
I know the year ahead will be very busy for me, but I promise to do my best to keep writing and sharing my thoughts with you guys. All I can say now is bring on the next 12 months!