I am a great believer in social conditioning; the theory that who we are, and the decisions we make are defined largely due to those around us. Up until you leave home this is largely your family which is why many badly behaved children are from troubled families. Equally those who do well and are confident are more likely to be from kind, loving families. That is not to say that’s all there is to it; there is the classic falling in with a bad crowd, and of course genetics.

Now that I’ve left home the people I see most are my flat mates. Each one has had a very unique impact on me. I thought I would take this as an opportunity to reflect about two of them now (the only two that have thus far given permission for me to write on them)

Stephanie is a bubbly, cheery person despite the immense pressure she is under due to her unfortunate condition of being a medical student. If she reads this she will find it incredibly strange that I’m being nice to her as one of my primary roles is to either purposely, or inadvertently, insult her. This is something she takes very well, and reciprocates with a frankly Oscar worthy range of facial expressions. Despite my constant abuse she is actually someone I respect a great deal. She has faced a lot of challenges over the last year, and has managed to come out of it smiling and strong. Having glandular fever while having lectures 9-5, and having to revise. In addition to this she also had to develop a way of cooking something other than pasta as she was in serious danger of becoming malnourished from lack of nutrients.  With a slight case of a broken heart thrown in to the equation a normal person may have thrown in the towel as the workload piled up, but not Stephanie. Even as I write this at 1:30 am she is across from me taking notes, and revising for her exams. As she wades her way through seas of lecture notes I marvel somewhat at her endurance and determination, as well as her focus. I will be the first to admit my brain is largely useless at work after 10, perhaps 11, at night. It fair to say then that the influence Stephanie has had on me has been purely positive.

Now on to the one and only Laura (not literally as there are approximately 784000 Laura’s in America alone; however, none of them are quite like this one). Laura is an ever smiling individual; she has a way of brightening up the dullest day just by walking into the room. If life were a fairy-tale birds would sing as she passed. She’s like a real life Snow White; that is if Snow White was incredibly sarcastic; liked dancing to Bollywood music, and could rap. You haven’t heard rap until you hear “Gold Digger” in a Northern Irish accent. Not only does Laura brighten up your day with her every present smile and pure love of life, but she also makes a good cup of tea, and an amazing hot chocolate. I don’t know how the rest of my flat will survive next year without seeing Laura every day. I am yet to meet a person who has met Laura and not remarked upon how lovely she is; that said we’ve never had a member of the green party check Laura’s heating usage. She seems to require a constant 30c room temperature.

Now that you’ve seen a couple of my influences from this year you can understand why I’ve tried to start doing more work; embracing life more and as a result started writing. I suppose then the key to becoming a happy, and successful person is surrounding yourself with people whose influences will help you become that person.