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! 

Graduation

So earlier this week I officially became a graduate!!! I believe the term for what I have been since I finished uni is graduand..! 

The day felt very surreal to me. Having been away for so long, I had almost forgotten about university and that part of my life even though I left so soon after. 

The day was amazing. It was so formal but they were so congratulatory of what we had all achieved it made it seem so much more special. 

My graduation was at 4.30, and I had to be there from about 2.30 to collect my gown and cap, and pick up tickets. I had brought my parents, sister, gran, Nanna and grandad with me. Even though only my parents and sister could go into the ceremony because of limited seating, my grandparents were all able to watch in the Enterprise Centre, which I thought was really good as they still then got to be part of the whole experience. 

The ceremony itself was great. The lecturers were all there, dressed up in snazzy graduation gowns. Neil (my dissertation supervisor) presented our awards and we were able to shake hands with the Vice Chancellor of uni. It was run very efficiently as well, we had allocated seats so that we knew which order to receive our awards and someone corrected our academic dress (caps and gowns) before we went on the stage so we looked presentable. There was also a gentlemen that directed us where to walk and which direction and when, which was helpful for people like me who had never attended any form of graduation before and had no idea what to expect.

The whole day was topped off by being able to take pictures with my friends and a lovely meal out with my family to celebrate. It was a special day that I’ll remember for a long time, and definitely something that should be a defining moment in the career of any undergrad! 

X

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. 

X

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!

X

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!

X

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! 

X

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!
X

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? 

X

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! 

X