Uni prep top tips!

Top tips when preparing for uni! So when I look back on how I prepared for my undergraduate degree, I pretty much didn’t. Living at home meant I didn’t have to learn to cook, nor did i have to consider packing. But now, looking to my next year where I’ll be heading to London, all of these are things I need to consider. 
1. Learn to cook.

Now this is a tricky one for me as I hateeeee cooking. I wouldn’t say I can’t do it, because I definitely can, I just don’t enjoy it at all and would rather not. So through my undergrad, where my mum was already cooking meals for her and my family, it never jumped out at me to cook independently. Obviously with that no longer an option, I’ve been trying to use my time staying in hostels and these few weeks I’m back at home, to be a more proactive chef. I wouldn’t say I’m a Gordon Ramsey, but I make a mean Chicken Satay dish! I think it’s super important for me to learn to cook, as it would create the wrong impression with my future housemates to try and lean on them for such a basic necessity. 
2. Make a packing list.

Personally, I love a good list. It makes me feel so much more productive even if maybe it doesn’t actually make me that much more productive. Chat to people you know who’ve gone away to uni and ask what things they took with them. Reflect on how much these things apply to your life and include or exclude them as you go. For example, I don’t drink hot drinks so won’t be taking a kettle, which is something I know appears on most people’s packing lists! 
3. Open a student bank account.

This is definitely something I intend to do, as there are many benefits of getting a student account. Most importantly for me, it can help with your future credit rating! Something which at the upcoming age of 23 seems way more necessary for me to consider than it did a few years ago, when I chose not to bother getting a student account! Forewarning guys haha!
4. Check out the societies. 

For me, when I started my undergrad, this was super important, because I wasn’t living on campus and wanted other ways to meet people. Although I will be living down in London, I’ve already decided I want to join Cheerleading. Joining a society exposes you to so many more opportunities and is a huge part of university life. The sports and societies fairs in your first week though can be super overwhelming, so knowing ahead of time what you’re interested in will be helpful for navigating that warzone
5. Find your course mates

This actually wasn’t something I did ahead of uni, which I’m not 100% sure why… I think I was so nervous about uni I put off thinking about it until the week before! It’s definitely something I would recommend though, and I’m going to do it for my MSc. Although I definitely feel you’ll make friends easy enough regardless (I did), it could offer you more ease in the process if there’s already someone you can share your worries and excitement with! 
6. Learn about your course

Although uni is an experience aimed for you to have fun, it’s important to remember you are going there for a reason. They’ll be bits of your course that you love and bits that you hate and struggle with. Something I wish I had done is learn about my course before I went and give myself some time to prepare for the bits I knew I would struggle with, like biology or essay writing. Giving yourself a head start for things that you could struggle with later will be something you’ll thank yourself for, take it from someone looking at it in hindsight! 

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Cheeky Library Tips

So around this time of year the library starts to get HEAVING. It is a place of hell, where you spend more time wandering around trying to find a space than actually using said space to do work! So here are some cheeky tips to help during this crazy period. Tried and tested! 

1. Depending on how you work, go LATE. And I mean real late, obviously this won’t work for everyone, but the library is a place of peace and sanctuary in the dead of night, although you will find a surprising number of people around!

2. Never go near Floor 0 – it is a free for all and you’ll never get the work done you need to!

3. Go along the side opposite Union House and the LCR. There might not be desks there but there are some comfy chairs and depending on whether you use a laptop or not, you can set yourself up your own little study hole.

4. Individual Study rooms run in 4 hour slot . If at 11:45 someone isn’t inside one, it’s reasonably safe to assume you could use one. So do! If the person arrives you politely leave and you’re in the same position you were, and if they don’t, you’ve got plenty of study time!

5. Get there EARLY. So this contrasts my earlier point, but in the same manner, 7.30/8.00 aren’t the most popular times for students to use the library (although you will again be surprised by how many people are accompanying you, particularly on floors 0 and 1!

6. The main library stairs – they’re big, if you really really are pushed for space, particularly at the top or bottom floors, you could set yourself up here

7. Remember, there are other areas on campus you can study. The IT block based near the bottom of the steps leaving the library and going behind the lecture theatres has loads of computers which can be used providing teaching is not on, and a room which is used only for study. This gets busy from 11-4 but is usually quiet before and after this! Similarly, EFRY, LSB and JSC all have areas for study, although no computers!

8. If you’re in the library for the long haul, bring all your stuff (drinks, snacks, jumpers, notepads etc) with you from the start! This means you won’t waste time wandering back and forth to get then but also means you won’t risk losing a precious study space! 

Binge Watching Shows for Students!

Here are my top 5 shows to binge watch on Netflix, Amazon, Sky Go, iPlayer, whatever you have, either as a SHORT! reprieve from studying or to reward yourself once you have finished! 

1. A league of their own. This show is hilariously funny and light hearted, it never fails to get me spirits up when I feel a bit stressed. I watched a whole season in a day whilst I did some less critical work as a chance to distress myself.

2. Bad Education. Another programme I find addictively funny but that was over with far too soon! There was however a movie to satisfy my cravings!

3. Fresh Meat. (Sorry a reoccurring Jack Whitehall theme here but I do love him). This never fails to make me laugh and gives me hope for my life, because, well, even at my hardest point, I seemed to cope better than one character or another!

4. Made in Chelsea. Nothing to take your mind off of uni stress like focusing all your efforts on envying the lives of the rich and semi-famous. Plus numerous individuals who are pleasing to look at!

5. Broadchurch. If you haven’t already and if you have, watch it again as you’re bound to have forgotten some things in the 2 year gap! This drama is so gripping and is exactly what I need sometimes to focus my mind on something other than stress and unhappiness!

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Exam Tips

So, I’m not claiming to be a pro, by any stretch, but these are 5 in exam tips that I have found help me feel more confident in myself!

1. Always ask for extra paper way before you need extra paper. It can take a couple of minutes for the invigilator to notice you and come round which can be precious time! If you put your hand up whilst you’rs still halfway through the page you’re on, you’ll have it ready and waiting!

2. Don’t sit by people you wouldn’t want to spend a normal lecture next too! There’s a reason you’ve chosen not to sit with them before and now is not the time to learn about all of their distracting habits!

3. Try not to go to the toilet. As someone that struggles to cram in all the answers in the allotted time, my sole piece of advice for those with similar problems would be to not waste any time going to the toilet. Pee right before and pee right after, it’s only a couple of hours and if you can hold it, try!

4. Split the first page of your answer booklet into two, 1 third page section and a 2/3 page section. The bigger one is for your plan, but the smaller one gives you space to write down any ideas that come to you mid-essay without making your work look untidy, unthought out or worse, risking it being mistaken as something not to be marked. 

5. Do not under any circumstances, try and figure out the answers after the exam. You will never remember all of the questions and will only make yourself unhappy and stressed by tricking yourself into believing you have got an answer wrong that actually you might not have!

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Graduation 

So the day of graduation is set!! July 18th at 4.30pm. I’m not sure if it’s good or bad having it so late in the day…? 

Bad because there’s like 4 courses to sit through before us, but good cos I might be able to get super cute graduation pictures at sunset? 

I’m literally overloading UEA with my family. My mum and dad will be going in the ceremony with me, and my sister, gran, nan and grandad will be coming as well, and watching the The Enterprise Centre, where it is being broadcast this year. My boyfriend isn’t going to be there unfortunately, as his sisters graduation at Nottingham is on the same day (literally what are the chances!) 

I’m quite excited for it actually! I can’t wait to celebrate with my family and get the traditional picture in my cap and gown! Although I’m not looking forward to the price of the cap and gown – I hear those are super expensive to hire! And we don’t get to throw our hats at UEA, which is a shame, but tbh I’ve never been thinking of that anyway. 

I’ve got to start looking for a dress! Although I’m tempted to get one whilst I’m in America as it will be so much cheaper! I’m also tempted to get a spray tan! Most of my friends are on holiday the week before graduation and will be all tanned! (I know I’m in America but I’m more likely to be red than brown haha). This is a picture I’ll keep forever so I wanna look my best!

Does anyone have any suggestions for good dress shops in a student budget? And any top graduation day tips for pictures or things to keep my family occupied? 

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Reflective writing

So my most recent assignment was on something called ‘reflective writing’

We had to chose a mental health related event (this could be anything, even exam stress) and using a prescribed model (I.e description, feelings, evaluation, analysi, conclusion and action plan) and theoretical research, consider this event. 

Everyone seemed to find this really difficult at first, I think because it’s something so different from what we are used to! Which is understandable, but I’ve actually really enjoyed it! 

I reflected on some sleep problems I had a few years ago and actually writing this has helped me come to terms with it, in a way I’ve never been able to do before. The process involves really thinking through what has occurred and considering why. What I found most effective was the action plan. Because you use research related to your problem to produce a plan for what you would do if it occurred again. 

Reflective writing is most common in health science courses, so not all students would come across it. But if you do, I would encourage you to embrace it. It’s really good to do something different every now and then, and you never know.. you could be really good at it! 

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How to make Easter holidays productive

So the Easter holidays are nearly upon us and for some that means exams, others assignments. I’m not claiming to be an expect, but I thought I would put together a few tips on how to make it a productive but still fun holiday! 

1. Plan your work around days out. If you know you have family plans across the Easter weekend, that’s fine! Just make sure that you get in a good amount of work the days before and after that, so you can enjoy your time off without worrying. 

2. Do let yourself have time off. You need time to rewind and relax, it will help you work more effectively and avoid burnout syndrome. 

3. Structure your days ahead. If you have 2 assignments due right after Easter and exam a while after that, plan your time accordingly: 2 days on one assignment, 2 days on another and 1 day on the exam.

4. Do your most important work first, don’t put it off to the end of the day. That way, when it’s out of the way, you know you still have plenty of time for other bits, rather than having to rush the most important piece.

5. If you have odd jobs to do, like running to post office, use them as breaks. That way you don’t waste time but you’re still refreshing your brain. 

6. Before the Easter holidays begins, make a timetable for work, and try to stick to it. Make it realistic though – don’t aim to do both assignments in one week so you can relax the rest of the time. Spread out relaxation and work throughout! 

7. Go into uni a couple of days. Just being in the educational environment might help you work better!

8. Overload on chocolate… it’s good for you! 😏

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Thinking about Dissertation

So I know that a lot of second years will be beginning to think about their dissertations and I thought I could give a couple of tips on how not to panic about this super scary idea and prepare!

1. Make a list of anything you could be interested in, no matter how long

2. Search on the internet popular dissertation topics/debates (for your course)

3. Ask a third year student

4. If you are really unsure, 100% go and speak to your advisor! That’s what they’re there for

5. Read back over your lectures from the past two years and make a note of anything that interests you

6. When you have some chosen areas, do a brief literature search, you need to know what the current status of research is so you can choose a question that is useful to the field of research

7. Before going to see possible supervisors, be prepared. Know what you want to do and why. The more prepared you are, the more likely they are to work with you

8. Think about the ethical complications. You don’t want to pick something completely up feasible that takes forever to get ethical approval for

9. If you are still struggling for topic ideas, look at a few lecturers you would like to work with and read their most recent publications. If you can’t decide what you want to do, you can always ask to follow the train of research of theirs which most interests you

10. Make sure it is something you are interested in. Nothing could be worse than spending a whole year doing something you despise, so bare this in mind

And remember, enjoy yourself! You’ll do so much better if you engage with the research and enjoy the process! 

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Royal Holloway!

I’ve been very slack with blog posts recently! Basically all my trips up to London put me so far behind on work that I’ve been working my arse off to catch up. Today we handed in our dissertation draft (post on that later) which is super scary, because it means one step closer to being done! Which is both good and bad. But enough, this post had one intention…

I GOT INTO ROYAL HOLLOWAY. I am officially going to be a Masters student and at a uni I hope I’ll love as much as the one I’m at now! I really do wish I could do my masters at UEA, I can honestly say I have enjoyed my time enough that I wouldn’t hesitate to stay for a second. I was contemplating doing a doctorate here (a whole 3 more years!) but I chose the Forensic route instead. 

I can’t wait to start my new adventure but I’m sad because when that starts it means this current one ends, and UEA has been my little home from home for 3 years! I guess I can easily still come up here though… I wonder if my campus card will let me in the library when I need a place to work and I can’t travel alllll the way to London 🤔 maybe if I ask real nicely! 

I need to get a 2:1 overall to be able to do the course, which I’m pretty sure i should get, fingers crossed. It’s such a relief knowing what I’m doing and knowing it’s a place I loved! 

I’m so glad that UEA was so supportive in my application. My supervisor wrote me a really nice reference (I haven’t read it but one of the interviewers commented on it) and the careers central were super helpful in both reading my personal statements and preparing me for interviews. Andrew, who is the careers advisor for social sciences, even sent me an email on the day to wish me luck, wish I thought was lovely. It summed up how much the staff genuinely care about the students here!! 

Royal Holloway! 

Hey guys! My second interview was yesterday, this time at Royal Holloway, and I cannot put into words how much I loved it!!!

I had to go down the night before as the applicant day started at 10 and I wouldn’t have made it leaving on the morning, but I stayed with my friends nan and she was an absolute diamond! 

The day involved a talk about the course, which actually was really helpful for making me think of what to say in my interview and it gave out more information about the course than was available online. The course sounds perfect, it’s so close to the things I’m interested in and the lecturers sound amazing, they have so much experience, it would be great to learn from them. 

The campus itself it absolutely beautiful, with this gorgeous historic building that you have graduation pictures in, that includes an art gallery and a chapel 😍 I didn’t get a chance to look round as I had to get back to get my bus home but I fell in love the moment I saw it. 

They also provided a free lunch and a chance to chat to some of the department team members more informally and that was great, it gave me a chance to get more of a feel for the lecturers, and who doesn’t love a free lunch 😏

I thiiiiink my interview went well. I had really prepared and I felt confident in what I was saying, but then you know how you second guess yourself afterwards, so I’m not sure. The course is soooo competitive, with only half the people who are interviewed getting a place, which kind of sucks, but I guess it’s to be expected. I will here back within 2 weeks, which feels like the longest time! I’m already checking my emails relentlessly! 

If I had my way, I would stay at UEA, but unfortunately that’s not an option. But Royal Holloway seems like a pretty good alternative if you ask me. I’m keeping my fingers, toes, and everything in between crossed! Can you guys do it as well! 

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