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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America

Hey guys.. it’s been a long while since I posted.. which I can only apologise for. Please forgive me! I was having the time of my life! 

So I went to America for 6 weeks, to tour the East Coast. I went from Charleston to New Orleans, through the South; around New York and from Boston to Boston, stopping in Washington, Philly, Pittsburgh and heading into Canada to see Niagara, Toronto and Montreal as well. 

I can hands down say that it was categorically the best six weeks of my entire life. It had it’s ups and downs, I won’t lie, for example I received a $100 bus ticket when I got a student ticket from LaGuardia airport in New York, because apparently I did qualify (despite a student card) for this discount; and I was ill three times out there, including the plane journey home. However, the ups far outweighed these. Most memorable for me was the helicopter ride across Niagara Falls, the One World Trade Center viewing platform, touring Boston via bike, Fourth of July fireworks by the Charles River in Boston, a beach day in Charleston, my very first night out, and most importantly, the people.

I did most of my travelling through tour companies, which I’ll do a post on later cos it’s totally geared towards students and one of the companies operates worldwide! Through these companies I met so many amazing people, because most of them were travelling alone, so the bond between you was maintained based on the wish to experience these amazing opportunities with new people. Because the tour company was quite jam packed in terms of seeing lots in a short amount of time, it meant that you spent considerable amounts of time with people you hadn’t known only days previously (particularly when you would have nights out following these long days). This was something I had thought I would absolutely hate, being quite shy and independent, but it turned out to be amazing. Because you spent so long with these people straight away, you formed this bond so quickly. I can only liken it to perhaps the experience of a reality show, where everything seems to happen so quickly and before you know it these people are your best friends. As I write this I am on a bus to London to visit one of the people I met on one of these tours. And next year I plan to visit some others in Australia. I honestly think the experience of travelling together is enough to give you a friendship for life. The other way I met people was in the hostels I stayed at in between these tours. This was easy in some places, for instance Charleston and Boston were full of travellers from similar cultures as me; England, America, Australia, the Netherlands. Here I met people who I clicked with immediately and in the case of Charleston met people whom I went on to meet up with later on in the trip and later this month when I go to Amsterdam! Other areas such as New York, which is such an international destination, proved more difficult because so many of the travellers could be from a variety of backgrounds and may not speak the same language as me, making it difficult to become friends. Nevertheless I tried, and even spent an evening out with 3 French girls.. although I will admit this proved more difficult than I had imagined! 

The overall experience of travelling has given me so much more than I expected. Not just new friends and new memories, but a new outlook on life. It’s helped me understand where I want to go in the future, and how I want to approach my goals from now on. As cliche as it sounds, I think travelling is something that really helps you understand who you are. 

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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! 

Slug and Lettuce

So I’m becoming obsessed with cocktail bars, literally obsessed. But I also love a good bargain, being a student and all! 

As you guys know I went to London last weekend and we were originally planning on going to Be at One, a bar we knew from home and liked. However, it was super far away and we didn’t have much time so we ended up going in the Slug and Lettuce. Now, to my knowledge we don’t have many of these in Norfolk, although a friend of mine tells me they did used to be a couple round here. However, if you are ever in any other part of the country, I cannot recommend them highly enough! 

I have wanted to go in one for a while since seeing the brand at the O2, but had always felt a bit out of place. Well not anymore. 2FOR1 cocktails, all day every day! Now that’s is my kind of place hands down! And in my favourite fashion, you can get any cocktails you like, and simply pay for the more expensive of the two! 

So if you’re ever on a night out in London or any other swanky places that happen to have a Slug and Lettuce, it’s definitely worth a look! And they serve the most incredibly looking Nachos, at least in the Chinatown one they do! 

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London Dungeons

So I have just returned from a lush day in London, in which I confronted a fear from my childhood and went to the London Dungeons!

Having gone on a school trip when I was younger and absolutely peed myself, I was really apprehensive! But I actually had a really good time! 

It’s very tense and lots of suspense, but it’s hugely informative and the actors are really good. The only times someone actually jumps out at you is during the Jack the Ripper bit (spoiler alert, but if you’re like me and hate being made to jump, you’ll majorly appreciate that tip!) but other than that it’s not too bad. They make the audience join in a lot, which isn’t something I’m hugely keen on, but it’s good for the younger audience that attend.

Overall, a good trip out. I would say allow about three hours for it. Its a bit pricey at £27 a ticket but if you can go in the morning it’s cheaper at i think £21! And of course there’s that gorgeous view that never gets old – the SouthBank! Also, your ticket entitles you to a free drink at the end, Cola Slush, Gin Cocktail and Draft Ale! And us students never turn down a free drink, even if we did technically pay for 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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Bill’s

Last week I went for a meal at Bill’s and it was lush!! I’ve never been in there before, but have always wanted to as it looks so snazzy and sophisticated! It’s right by the entrance to Castle Mall (the one with Millie’s cookies) and looks like a quirky cafe but it is sooooooo much more! The menu isn’t too big but it’s delicious and such good quality. I had a chicken burger and sweet potato fries which were gorgeous. And for dessert I had the melting chocolate bomb with salted caramel sauce. Side note – how popular are both of those things becoming at the moment! 

It was a bit pricey, so it’s not somewhere I would go often, but it was lovely for a treat and definitely worth the price I paid. 

They were even kind enough to give away vouchers that got you a free dessert for the rest of March, and it was only the 8th when I went so that’s good service! 

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The Spice Lounge

I tried out a new restaurant in Norwich today, which is unusual having grown up there!

The Spice Lounge! 

It’s an Indian in tombland, just past the Maids ahead hotel on the left. It’s lovely inside, really posh and a nice vibe and the staff were super friendly and helpful!

I had a chicken korma (I need to make it clear, not cos I’m a wimp, I just love korma sauce!), shared a naan and a rice with friend, had 2 popadoms and 2 cokes and all for £15 which I thought was really good value! 

The korma was delicious, the chicken was cooked really well, and it was a really good portion size actually. I felt full but not over stuffed which is a problem I sometimes have with Indians! 

The restaurant was busy, but not crammed, which i guess is to be expected on a Tuesday night, but I would definitely recommend booking ahead if you are going later on in the week.

Overall, definitely rate this restaurant and with good prices, and lots more options than just Korma, I would say it’s definitely something you guys should check out if you in Norwich attending UEA! 

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How to get to London as a student

So as you guys know, I’ve been to and from London a lot this week! And I’ve found that the buses (which run to and from the university itself) are an absolute lifesaver on a student budget!

The trains are absolutely extortionate and I could never afford them! The cheapest I found for a single was £13.80 but that was leaving at like 9pm and means I wouldn’t be home to midnight. The times I would need to leave which unfortunately coincided with rush hour ran up bills of around £50! For a single! Crazy, I can’t even imagine paying that much as a full time worker! 

However, both the megabus and the national express have provided great prices! £4.60 for single trips! And £12 for a return. That was booked at really short notice as well, just over a week ahead, but I got 2 people returns for less than £10 when I booked last year as soon as tickets came out.

What I also noticed today was that National Express now offer discounts on trips for students using UNiDAYS! Which will make my journeys even cheaper! Bring on the next round of interviews, I’ve found the cheap way of getting there! 

I think it should be promoted a bit more around UEA, because it’s so handy for students. Both buses go from beside the car park and usually run four times a day. They go straight to London Victoria coach station, which connects to so many places across the U.K. I know a friend of mine gets the megabus to London and then straight in to Brighton! 

Anyone have any useful cheap travel tips for students? 

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