Final Update: 07/12/2009
Wow, I haven't been on here for a while...and now I'm writing to say a massive thank you, and to give you a last up date for YearDot before the show and project are archived (gulp!)
So since I last wrote a blog (back in May!) so much has happened. I suppose in a way it would have been a good idea to have kept on with the blogs, but once you get out of a habit it's not always easy to pick it back up again... But I'm glad I've got a chance to let you know how it's all going, because it's been a very busy, good, uncertain, and at times difficult 6 months, but the thing is - it's all working out ok now.
The last video you saw was me finishing my degree, moving to London, and looking for work, whilst still wanting to be as involved in politics as possible. Well all that's done now, I've been living in the big smoke for half a year, worked all summer (I had one weekend off between June and September) and then started a fixed job in the welfare-to-work industry, which is involved in helping find long-term unemployed people find work.
But it really wasn't at all easy finding a job. Seriously, it's so tough out there right now. As you all well know, politics is my absolute love, but there were hardly any jobs going, and so many incredibly well qualified people for each post that it was starting to look impossible. I've been so lucky in that I managed to find a good job, and get to travel around and visit all different areas and meet so many different people.
But the summer wasn't exactly the easiest of times, with so much worry about what job I'd be doing, and so many of my friends really struggling too. Whilst at the same time it seemed others were getting their 'perfect job', and you can't help but ask what you're doing wrong, and what more you could have on your CV when you've done years of work, vounteering, and done well academically too. I didn't go away on the break I'd been planning in my head for months (well, except to Labour Party Conference and to visit a friend at university in Holland for 3 days).
But anyway, it's December now and as I mentioned above, things are definitely back on track. I'm very grateful for the security I now have, as the prospect of having to pay rent without know what job I was going to have wasn't much fun.
In terms of life after uni, I completely miss having the freedom to structure my day however I felt was best, and having the time to do all this other stuff too, and having so many friends literally just around the corner. But no, I don't really miss the academic work. Great uni, great department, but academia's just not my passion.
Labour Party Conference was great, and life's settling down a bit now. Just in time for election craziness to kick in! We all know it's coming in the next few months, and the campaign is going to be tough. But I think it's absolutely all left to play for. Gordon Brown had a great session at PMQs on Wednesday, and we're still ploughing ahead with so many great policies that the idea that our government is in any way out of steam just quite simply isn't right.
As I went into in my last blog, there's so many reasons to have a Labour government, and avoiding savage Tory cuts in our schools and hospitals, not to mention their unfair tax policies that would only benefit the very rich and ignore normal people like us, there are still so many reasons to get out and fight for Labour.
If you have a spare couple of mins, this "fighters and believers" video shows just why we still need a Labour government - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WA3H07Se0ZQ
I promise it's worth a watch.
Tomorrow's 'The Wave' march, which is taking place in a few different places in the country, and I'm going to the one here in London to help give the government the support they need before the Copenhagen Summit where they'll do their best to get a binding agreement on what countries will do to tackle climate change.
It's worth taking part in, here's more info (see if there's one near you) - http://www.stopclimatechaos.org/the-wave.
I'll head off in a minute, but I just have one more thing to say. Thank you.
Thank you so much to every single person who has read even half of one of these blogs, watched the videos, seen the show, and got in touch with me over the last year and a half. My life has changed beyond recognition, and it's not always been easy, but it's been so nice talking to so many of you, hearing your stories, and hopefully showing that you too can absolutely do anything you believe in.
And I also hope I've shown that not all politicians are bad, and most of us really do go into it all for the love, passion, and sheer belief in what we're fighting for. Please don't give up on us. Get involved yourselves, and help show the critics that young people have so, so much to give. And please never, ever let anyone tell you you're too young or inexperienced to do what it is you feel passionately about. That's rubbish.
But also, I hope you've seen over the last year and a bit that the journey can be (and should be) really very tough at times too. It has been for me. But just keep going. Even when you think "that's it, I just can't do this anymore", remember what Obama said - Yes You Can. And he's not wrong.
I've learned a lot of lessons over the course of the show, and even more since, but staying true to yourself, and to those who matter to you most, is absolutely the standard you should hold yourself to. The rest, as they say, will follow in time. And I promise it will.
Good luck with everything, and please do keep in touch. The blogs will be very few and far between, but I still get all the messages and will do my best to reply.
PS. If you've not yet had enough of me yet, then you can follow me on Twitter at www.twitter.com/CHazelgrove (I'm a lot better at keeping that up-to-date than I ever was at this!)
Read all of Claire's blogs