Lake District

Lake District
Lake District


Showing posts with label student life. Show all posts
Showing posts with label student life. Show all posts

University Survival Guide | Part II: Freshers' Week

As promised, here is part II of my 'University Survival Guide' on the topic of surviving Freshers' Week. I'm not sure I'm really the best person to write about this due to the fact that I'm a bit of a granny, and while most of my friends are queuing up to be freshers' reps for this year's lot of freshers, the madness of Freshers' Week is something that I will be quite happy to only experience once. Couldn't 'hack the pace', as it were- so this will probably be more of a guide for introverts on how to survive possibly the most mental week of your short lives, more than anything.
Obviously a lot of things will differ between university to university but I've tried to make a lot of these tips quite general:

1// Make a good effort
Even if you are like me and Freshers' Week just isn't your thing. It still pays off to make a good effort to go to the different events. Remember it's only one week out of your whole life and you're likely to meet some great people and make a few new friends. Also, once you get into it, it is really good fun.

2// Remember that everyone is in the same boat
I think the best thing to remember if you're nervous about starting university is that everyone is going through exactly the same thing as you are. It's scary business moving out for the first time and a pretty big personal upheaval, especially if you're moving far away. You'll find most people will be really friendly and keen to make friends during Freshers'. Just be prepared for a lot of the usual "what A levels did you do?", "what course are you on?" etc!

3// It's OK not to be friends with your flatmates
I think a lot of people go to university with the expectation that they MUST be best friends with their flatmates. For sure, it's great if you get on well with the people you're living with but if you find that you just don't gel well with your flatmates (it happens!), it's really not the end of the world. I got on with most of my flatmates OK and one of them did end up becoming one of my best friends, but the majority of the friends I made in my first year were mostly just people on my course or people I'd met through other friends.

4// Don't hide yourself away
I feel like when you're a bit nervous in an unfamiliar place like university there can be a bit of a temptation to hide away in your room and lock the door- and  sure, if you need a little space or a little alone time for a couple of hours that's totally OK, but just don't hide yourself away for too long. Make an effort to hang out in your accommodation's communal areas and make a point of eating your meals in the kitchen rather than in your room.

5// Join a club or society
This is the standard #1 piece of advice most people will give you for starting uni- and it is so for a reason! So far I haven't done this and so far I've sincerely regretted it. Most universities have a whole ton of societies so there will definitely be something to suit you, and logically you're going to find like-minded people somewhere where you know you'll have a shared interest. But even apart from all the potential friendships there are to be made, societies sound like a lot of fun too as well as a great way to find some sense of community at university.
Your uni will probably have a Freshers' Fair  during Freshers' Week where you can sign up for different societies. Make sure you don't miss it because it's worth going to see what's on offer and pick up some freebies!

6// Be careful
When you're living away from home for the first time it can be very tempting to just throw all caution and inhibition to the wind but just remember to be be sensible and take care of yourself.
Firstly, know your limits with alcohol, don't drink on an empty stomach and never ever leave your drinks unattended. Also, when you're out, stay with someone else and don't wander off on your own- you need to be especially careful during Freshers' Week when you still don't know the area well.
Remember that you don't have to do anything you don't want to do, so don't let anyone pressure you. If you don't feel up for something, don't do it. Simple as that!

7// Resist temptation to skip class
First year is whenever you're going to learn most of the foundation for your subjects for the rest of your time at uni so make sure you don't skip class or let yourself get behind. Your attendance will be well worth it come exam time when you have all the notes and material you need, trust me!

8// Budget
Set yourself a weekly budget and try not to go over it. There's such a temptation to overspend at the beginning of term when you just have your student loan in, but don't do it! You don't want to be left penniless and living exclusively on cheese on toast by the end of term (been there!)

9// Get to know your campus
It might be helpful to take a good walk around and get to know your campus before classes start so that you have an idea of where your classes are- just so you're not panicking before your first class because you're unsure of where you're going!

I also would just like to add that even though it's also really good fun, going away to uni can be really hard. I certainly didn't have an easy time of it at first. If you need someone to chat to or if you have any more questions you can 100% email me and I'd be more than happy to help. Also, please let me know if you want any other university-related posts and I will happily write about anything you want to know!

For those of you who received their A Level results this week, I hope they all went well and you got what you were hoping for.

University Survival Guide | Part I - Getting Ready

If you've been following my blog for a little while you might already know that I just finished my first year of university in June. Around the end of my exams this year Rebeka suggested that I do a little round-up of some tips I've learnt for surviving uni so far. I thought it was a great idea since I know of a lot of fellow bloggers at the minute who will be heading off to university in September-October time and although I don't consider myself an expert on university life by any means (I'm still learning), as a recent fresher I would be very happy to bestow upon you some little tips I have learnt from my experiences at university this year! 

Originally I was going to write all my tips up in one post but as it turned out a bit too long, I've now decided to break it in to parts, starting with a few things to think about before you start uni.

1) Check which household items are already supplied
In terms of the stuff you need to get for uni, it's worth checking what sort of appliances/facilities/household items are already supplied by your university halls or accommodation beforehand to save you from buying anything unnecessary! For example, our kitchen at university already had a toaster and kettle and we also had a vacuum, iron, ironing board, brush and mop and bucket supplied for the flat so it's beneficial to know what you definitely do need to bring and what you don't need to worry about!

2) Storage boxes never go amiss! 
They're so handy for managing all the random clutter you accumulate over time. I got the baskets on my shelves as a gift from my aunt a long time ago so I'm not sure where they're from unfortunately but they were so useful for a bit of extra storage! You're also likely to have some space under your bed or desk for storage boxes or shelves.

(Left: patterned cardboard box from H&M Home - £6.99Centre: Komplement storage with compartments from IKEA - £15; Right: Duck egg clothes storage box from Dunelm - £3.99; )

(Left: Keter 4 drawer tower storage unit -Argos - £14.99; Pink Damask Rectangular Storage Box - Dunelm- from £2.99; Plastic Underbed Storage Box - Dunelm- £6.99)

3) Neither does desk storage
I never actually got around to buying a decent desk organiser (I ended up using Kilner jars to store pens and pencils) but I'd definitely say they're a worthwhile purchase to keep your workspace clear and clutter-free!
(From left: Hanging heart jar- £2.95; Vintage leaf storage tin- £6.95 - both from dotcomgiftshop; Red 3 drawer storage unit from W.H. Smith- £6.49)

4) Try and buy books second hand 
A lot of times the books you'll need for your course are ridiculously expensive. If you want to save a little cash you can try and source out some of your books from second hand bookshops or find used books on Amazon. You could also try and buy them from a second year student. At my university second years usually advertised their old books for sale on our freshers page on Facebook so keep your eyes peeled if your university has a similar set-up!

5) Think about the practicalities of your laundry bag
Ok this is a really random one but just consider the fact that if you're living in university halls there's a good chance you'll be lugging your laundry down to the laundry room at least once a week, in which case it's worth investing in a sturdy laundry bag- easier to transport and much more discreet than your standard laundry basket.

The DotcomGiftShop have a load of these amazing vintage-style storage bags in all different colours and patterns for £4.95 which I think would make great laundry bags, alternatively though you could just use a bag for life from Tesco or Sainsbury's- or just a plastic bag, whatever floats your boat, you know.

6) Consider bringing a printer
I personally feel like if you're in a position to bring a printer with you to uni- do it. When it comes to deadlines and last minute lecture work, having your own printer in your room rather than having to run down to the library every time you need to print something off will save you a lot of time, but this one is a bit of a personal preference thing!

8) Hone those cooking skills!
If you're like me and had never really cooked a real meal in your life, now is as good a time as any to learn! Truth be told, ready meals and oven chips will only get you so far in life and you will eventually miss home cooked meals. Knowing how to cook will also make you a very popular housemate and there are a ton of great recipe books aimed at students that you can buy if you need a little inspiration.

(Left: The Hungry Student Cookbook - Charlotte Pike - £6.29;  Centre: Nosh for Students - Joy May - £6.39; Right: The Really Useful Ultimate Student Cookbook - Silvana Franco - £3.99; all from Amazon)

7) Remember you don't need to buy everything in advance
If you want to travel a bit lighter, especially if you have to travel far to uni, you can always hold off buying some things until you arrive. It'll save a lot of space in your luggage and it'll also be easier to figure out exactly what you need and what you don't once you get there.

9) Find out about Freshers Week events
Just so you'll know what to expect and in case you need anything like costumes etc. for themed nights! Usually there'll be a Facebook page with details of Freshers Week events.

This is of course far from an exhaustive list of everything you need to think about, but rather it's just a few random things I learnt this year from a bit of trial and error of my own. I hope some of you will find it helpful anyways! If there are any other tips you'd like to add please feel free to comment and maybe we could help each other out?

I'm not entirely sure when the next part will be up with work and everything that's going on but it will definitely be sometime this week and will be on the joy that is: Freshers Week.

Hope you're all well!

My University Room

I am now back home in Ireland (after having travelled for 10 hours- we took the ferry from Scotland) and I can tell you, I am KNACKERED but very happy to be home in my own bed now!
Before I started taking my room apart to pack up, I took a few photos just to remind myself of what it looked like in case I ever wanted to look back in the future, and since I know a few people reading may be heading off to university in September/October time and may be starting to think about university accommodation I thought I'd just post these for you to show you what my room looked like in case anyone is interested!
The photos on my pinboard are a mixture of photos of me and my friends as well as a few of my favourites from Tumblr that I got printed at Boots.
I also got these Polaroid-style instagram photos printed at which I believe were £12 for 48 prints!
I got these two ornaments as gifts from friends at Christmas and just hung them with a pin :)
At uni I used this heart-shaped photo holder to put my necklaces on so they wouldn't get tangled- and my little cousin bought me this ceramic-heart ornament as a leaving gift when I was heading off to uni.
This is my shelf on the left-hand side of the room that I just kept some hair products and cards and ornaments on! (I always lose the lids for these sorts of things!!)
On the right-hand side I just had some nail-polish, perfumes, hand-creams and what not, then in the middle I had some framed photos of my school friends. The corked jar on the left-hand side is just filled with seaglass I've collected this year at uni!
I got this vintage Coca-Cola tin in a charity shop I used to work in a couple of years ago and I love it so much!! I just use it for a bit of jewellery storage.

As always, hope you are all doing very well!!

Falling in Love with Lancaster

These are just a few photos taken out on a girly evening with my friend Louise (who, by the way, was the very good friend who lent me the wise Lion King-related advice a few posts back). It's crazy to think, but my first year at Lancaster is now very quickly coming to a close (my last exam is tomorrow, moving out of uni accommodation on Thursday!!!) and it was nice to just spend some time off-campus to reflect on the months that have gone by.

I  first met Louise because she was part of my workshop group on my marketing course but for months we were just casual acquaintances and only really spoke when we had to sort things out for our group work and presentations. I was actually a little intimidated by her at the start because since marketing was her major she often had to assume a sort of leadership role in the group and I was afraid she was judging me or I was letting her down by not giving my all. As it turned out, however, this was all nonsense and in fact, she had also found me a bit intimidating! First impressions can sometimes be very wrong. especially among girls I think sometimes.
Despite our misunderstanding about each other however, because she lived quite near me on campus we would sometimes walk back from seminars together and chat for a bit. It was on one of these occasions I mentioned to her that I used to horse-ride and was thinking about taking it up again, it turned out she also used to ride and we decided to go together and in the process we actually found out we really have a lot in common and now I'd consider her one of my best friends!

If you've read any of my previous posts you'll know I wasn't particularly happy here at the beginning. I found campus and campus accommodation very oppressive and because of a few personal problems I encountered, I found it really difficult trying to keep up with work and assignments as well as the demands of living on my own for the first time. It was a struggle but I can now say over this last term and a bit I've really found my feet, settled in and made some really good genuine friendships to the point where I will actually be really sad to go home for the summer.

Sometimes I also think I failed to appreciate how beautiful Lancaster actually is. There's some really stunning architecture in the city which is then surrounded by miles of green countryside (I'm a big fan of countryside), and also the Lake District is basically on your doorstep, something which I will definitely be taking more advantage of next year.
All in all, I'm very happy to say that I'm very much looking forward to my next few years at Lancaster and all the ups and downs that are still to come over my next 2 years here.

Vegan Lunch and Woodland Walk

It was a lovely sunny day in Lancashire today and I had a niiiiice lie-in which was just perfection! When I did decide to get up and brave the day today I went for lunch and a catch up with one of my best friends from uni, he's called Will, he's great and is also one of the wittiest people I know (love you, Will!) One thing I don't think I appreciate enough about my uni campus is how darn funky it is! Turns out there's a vegan cafe randomly on the rooftop of one of the ICT buildings which Will took me to which was pretty cool and there were some pretty views over the fields around uni! Unfortunately I'm not vegan, in fact I'm a raving carnivore (much to my shame being such an animal lover), fortunately though there was a quorn sausage toastie on offer on the menu which I was all for, since I sort of prefer quorn sausages to regular ones, weird I know. 
I'm also just going to have to apologise for the absence of our eyes in these photos, it was very bright!

After lunch we went for a dander through the woodland trail which runs around campus and it was just a really lovely afternoon! Will is heading off soon, first to Cambodia for a month and then off for a year abroad in Maine, USA and since he's English and I live in Ireland I probably won't be seeing him again for a good while after this year at uni is over which is very sad indeed, so I'm really happy to have got the chance to have such a nice lunch today before we part ways.

Hopefully I'll be a little bit more active on my blog now that exams are coming to a close. I really haven't been out much recently to have anything to blog about, but I'm really hoping that will change, otherwise I would be really sad!!

Hope y'all are good and are getting lovely weather! This is based on the assumption that if the sun can shine in the North West of England, it can shine anywhere!

Powered by Blogger.