July 18th, 2012 → 5:22 pm @ Mark Ledden
For students, the summer can be an incredibly long time. While you’re young and are low on responsibilities, it’s important to make the most of this. If you don’t have anything planned, it can be easy to waste the whole of your summer break. The summer before you go to university and the summers between each year may be the longest holiday you’ll ever have. When you get out the other side of the higher education system, the financial issues will kick in and you’ll be trying your best to find a full-time job.
All this free time is a great opportunity to gain some experience in the field you’re looking to go into and even make some decent cash. If you’re not sure what you want to do, you can spend small chunks of your time working or volunteering in different industries to see what takes your fancy.
A holiday is a pretty traditional way to spend your summer break but students like to do things a little differently. When you’re young, you want to explore rather than relax. Why not head over to South America to do some work for charity? or spend a couple of months getting cultured in Europe. Time away is great to take your mind off things and get your head together for getting back to uni or heading out into the ‘real’ world.
Who doesn’t like music? There are so many festivals these days, to suit any taste and budget. A festival is a great way to let your hair down and enjoy yourself before getting back to all the hard work. You can also use it to spend some time and catch up with your friends back at home, if you’ve been away for most of the year. Or you can head to another part of the country with some newly-made friends from uni.
This might not come immediately to mind as most of you want to have a break when you’re on a break! But reading up on what you’re about to embark upon come the new academic year is a great way to get ahead of the class, as things really start to pile up when things get started in September.
Whatever you end up doing this summer, don’t waste it! Or do waste it! It doesn’t really matter what you do. Go out and do something crazy to get it out of your system or spend as much time as you like doing as little as possible. Let this just be some food for thought for you.
May 11th, 2012 → 10:43 am @ Mark Ledden
So you’re ready to move out of home to go to university, and you’ve found yourself out of your comfort zone sharing a flat or house with a bunch of students. It could be a difficult transition period… or it could be best time of your life! Here are our top tips on how to survive in a student household for an awesome university digs experience!
Find out more about the area you’re moving to and see what students there do. If you’re moving to London, you’re going to be on the lookout for a nice flat that you can share with mates. However, it’s common for students to share a house in Newcastle rather than a flat. Think carefully about what your living budget is going to be and choose your new home somewhere close to university and also close to shops. You can save a lot by cutting out transport fees!
Choosing a house or flatshare is more about your new housemates than it is about the house. Find housemates with similar interests and you’ll have an awesome time. Find people who are working in similar faculties to you, choose flatmates with similar social interests like music lovers or movie makers, and make sure that there’s a good balance between work and play. Avoid party animals and budding bass guitarists if you value your study time.
The one big thing you will need to get used to in a flatshare is that shared spaces belong to everyone. That means that you’ll need to share the living room, dining room and kitchen spaces and you’ll need to compromise with your flatmates. If your flatmate has a late studying schedule, get up early to take advantage of the shower and kitchen facilities before they do. If your flatmate tends to be a bit of a night owl in the library, don’t get up early to play loud music in the living room.
Devising a cooking schedule can help you to save a bit of money as you split the cost of food with your house mates. Cooking one big meal for everyone can often be a lot cheaper than cooking for one, and taking turns making dinner ends up saving you a bit of extra money. Share the cleaning too, and you’ll only have to do dishes or the vacuuming once a week.
We’re not all eco-warriors but saving on energy means there’s more money in your pocket. Making small changes like showering after peak electricity hours, or only boiling as much water as you need for your coffee will make a big difference to the bills. Keep energy usage down to a minimum and you could reduce your electricity and gas usage to around £10 a week.
Author: Mark Ledden
May 9th, 2012 → 5:08 pm @ Mark Ledden
We all get those days after the night before where life simply becomes unbareable due to the sheer amount of booze we’ve managed to soak through our bodies. The smart part isn’t nessecarily in watching what or how much you drink to avoid in getting in such states, it’s how you handle the hangover. Some irritating people will claim they don’t get hangovers (we call those people liars). Either that or they didn’t drink enough!
So how do we handle those times when you can’t bare to face the light of day and just want to hide from the world under the duvet and feel sorry for yourself? Being as prepared as possible is always a good way to go, but sometimes we know that’s just not going to happen. If you can make sure you have as much of the following to hand as you can, then you’ll be well on your way to recovery.
These are pretty crucial most of the time. You’re probably going to have a stinking headache and this is the best way to put the pain on-hold. I find that Ibuprofen works much better than Paracetamol, but whatever floats your boat.
This stuff is like magic. Drop one of these effervescent beauties in a glass of water and watch in amazement. Then drink back and absorb the goodness. Berroca is packed with plenty of vitamins and minerals to help repair your body and get you back on track. Any fizzy vitamin suplement should do the trick here though.
Just hear me out! This is a smart trick a friend taught me at uni. Stick a glass full of ice next to your bed and it’ll melt overnight. This leaves you with lovely cold water when you finally come around the next day. This will help cure your dehydration and get rid of your headache.
Once you’ve managed to sort your head out and have scraped yourself out of bed, it’s time to start thinking about filling your stomach to soak up all of that booze. Eating is one of the best things to help you get over your hangover. You’re going to need salt and protein. Eggs, bacon and some bread or toast will really help fill you up, provided you can handle eating anything. It’s a tried and tested hangover cure; the greasy spoon.
If you’re not ready to tackle somehting quite as challenging as the standard full english, fruit is certainly the next best thing. It’s generally easier to get down and it’s packed with goodness and plenty of water which will all help in the recovery process.
Having a shower and cleaning your teeth can go a long way to making you feel better the morning after. Sometimes this is absolutely necessary if you have places to be. There are even dedicated shower gels which are aimed at revitalising your hungover body. A quick clean of the teeth can have a huge impact too. No doubt your mouth will feel like something has died in there following your night on the juice.
These tips and tools should get you somewhere near a fresh body and mind after your evening of sin. If you have any magic ideas yourself, we’d love to hear them. Just leave them in the comments!
March 15th, 2012 → 4:03 pm @ Mark Ledden
The Web is an incredible place and there are many ways in which you can take advantage of it during your time at University. You can use it for study, staying in touch, and getting organised Here are just a few tips:
This is the standard for communication online. It’s been around for ages and won’t be going anywhere soon. Your University and lecturers will most likely send you all sorts of important information straight to your inbox. You need to keep organised so you don’t miss anything. Start by creating labels, filters, folders or whatever your email service has to offer to help categorise different emails. You can have a folder for each module of your course for example.
Doing research online is incredibly productive, there’s so much at your fingertips. There are many great online resources that let you scour for books, papers and journal entries. Depending on what you study, having access to these journals may be more important than being able to go down to the library, as books are likely to be more out-of-date. Most Universities will provide remote access to their periodicals, so it doesn’t matter where you are. You just need a computer with Internet access. The Internet also provides a gateway to many other mediums which may prove beneficial to your learning. Blog posts, podcasts and videos – while not being suitable for referencing – may help you digest the information you need to complete your assignments.
As you travel round the web use can start to curate your own bookmark list of relevant articles and snippets. This can be a really helpful resource when it comes to your assignments. If you have all the relevant sources and information nicely tagged and categorised on your bookmark list. Clever curation and a well thought out organisational structure will really prove its worth when it comes to exams and deadlines. Bookmarking can also be a great way to start where you left off between study sessions. No need to head for the search engine to find the article you were reading.
Even with all this information at your fingertips, sometimes it’s best just to dig into a book. If this book is something you only need for a semesters work, you’re not going to want to pay full price for it. Unless you can sell it for a reasonable price once it’s no longer needed. There are plenty of place online where you can find used books being sold very cheaply. Much of these are in very good condition and will be perfect to see you through your assignment. Ebay and the Amazon Marketplace come to mind.
The Internet is primed for connecting with new people and for staying in touch with others who may be far away. Leaving for University can be hard, especially if you’re not used to being away from friends and family. The Internet has done an incredible job of shrinking the planet and it’s never been easier to stay in touch. The obvious social networks and video chat will get you through any tough times and allow you to share your new life. On the other side of this, is meeting new people. At University you’re thrown in at the deep end and there are so many new faces. It’s not hard to make friends when everyone is in the same boat. Getting connected online is just a great way to facilitate this.
March 2nd, 2012 → 1:41 pm @ Mark Ledden
Hindsight is a great tool for giving advice, it’s just a shame when the advice you give can’t help you go back to change your own experiences. Only a time machine can do that! Here are a few tips to get the most out of life at university from the perspective of those who have already been through it all. So before you pack up your life and move into halls, have a read through these tips.
A lecturer will receive an endless stream of emails in a week. It’s important to make personal connections by visiting them during office hours or by asking them questions after a lecture that particularly grabbed your interest. Make the effort as knowing your lecturers personally is important. They can provide career advice, write reference letters and will be more willing to supervise or help guide you with a special project.
Sometimes you realise after a month or two doing your course that it’s really not right for you and you feel you would be much happier doing something a little different. It can be fairly easy to switch courses, depending on the circumstances and availability of what you want to do. Don’t do this on a whim though; think carefully as it will impact your future heavily. Get advice from lecturers on what your options are.
Clearly this isn’t the coolest thing to do but it’s pretty important. You need to know how the facilities work from the very beginning. You’re going to need to know how to conduct your research and find what you need for reading. Getting familiar with the library system and services will help immensely and take away any hassle, leaving you free to focus on your studies. There is usually an orientation during fresher’s or registration week, be sure to attend!
Let’s say you’re supposed to do two hours of reading to prepare for each class, you could end up doing a full working week of reading before even getting started on assignments. This just isn’t feasible; you need to prioritise your time. You need to think about what needs your focus at which point and dedicate your time accordingly. A looming assignment deadline will take priority over reading for a seminar. But you still need to make an effort with the reading, just take a more ‘skimmed’ approach and do what you can.
Working during university can not only reduce your debt upon graduation, it could also just give you a little extra cash to enjoy your time a bit more. A part-time job can also help to take your mind away from the stress of studying, there are plenty of fun student jobs! On the other hand, you can use this as an opportunity to work your way up in the industry you’d like to get into. Start low in the food chain and get your foot in the door.
University presents the best excuse you’ll ever get to travel overseas through exchanges, semesters abroad and volunteer programs. Once you start working, you can forget about extensive travel as you’ll probably only get a few weeks of vacation per year from whichever company that hires you. While you’re young and have the chance you should go and explore the world. This can be done cheaply through student-targeted schemes.
It’s a good idea to try and fully immerse yourself in student life; joining clubs and going to events, but make sure you’re not spreading yourself too thinly. It’s great to make the most of your first few weeks. Fresher’s week is ideal for having a go at everything; if there’s a club for a sport you’re good at or have always fancied trying then by all means sign up! After time though, your study will really start to eat up all of your time and you’ll find you have little time for everything you signed up for.
October 4th, 2011 → 2:34 pm @ Mark Ledden
The dreaded Freshers Flu comes around on the mass meeting and induction of students in the new academic year. Despite being called ‘flu’ it actually isn’t, it’s more like a really bad cold. A huge percentage are inflicted with the viral infection which usually sets in during or just after Freshers Week.
Common symptoms may include:
With so many people coming from all over the country and overseas, many will bring with them all types of colds strains, so you’re bound to catch one of them. It can be hard to avoid it, with long queues for registration and everyone out for Freshers events.
The poor diet, excessive alcohol consumption and tiredness throughout Freshers Week contributes to the weakening of the immune system and will leave you more vulnerable to it. However, being healthy, well-fed and well-rested won’t make you invincible, so be prepared.
The best thing to do is to simply treat is as a regular cold and try and ride it out. It won’t last long and going to the doctor for a cold is a waste of time. Make sure you stay in and look after yourself. Even better if you have a friend who can help too.
Dealing with it:
Freshers Flu shouldn’t really last more than a few days. If it does go on longer or feels much worse, then please go and see a doctor. We don’t want you missing out too much on your brand new Uni life
October 3rd, 2011 → 12:22 pm @ Mark Ledden
By now some of you will have been away from home for a week or two, maybe longer. The thrill and excitement of Freshers may have worn of and things are beginning to sink in. If you do begin to feel homesick, it’s completely natural and there are a number of things you can do to tackle it.
Most people aren’t going to know anyone when they first move to Uni. It will take a while for you to meet people you will make good friends with, but make the effort to make as many new acquaintances as you can. In a place with so many like-minded people with many similar interests, you’re likely to make some good life-long friends at University.
The busier you are, the less time you’ll have to feel homesick. Finding things to keep you busy is easy at University. Join a club or take up some activities. Make good start with your classes and find out what sorts of student activities are available and attend some meetings.
Stay In Touch
Homesickness could be more about the people than the place. You miss you friends and family. They’re all still there though and communication has never been more readily available or instant. Keeping in regular contact and making the odd trip home will help. Don’t over do it or visit home too often as this won’t deal with the problem or allow you to get settled in your new life.
If Things Get Too Much
Always let friends and family know how you’re feeling, don’t hide things and feel you have to deal with it alone. You might know people who have been through this before, who may have some good advice. There’s always professional advice at the University, they are there to help and will understand that it may be hindering your work. Homesickness is a very common problem, and the counselors at the University will know how to help.
September 30th, 2011 → 2:48 pm @ Mark Ledden
The new App from Wetherspoons gives you access to exclusive offers and you can even win for your Uni fees to be paid for a year! Head to the App Store and search for “Wetherspoons Unlocked” or click here for more details.
September 22nd, 2011 → 4:52 pm @ Mark Ledden
Ok guys, I’m reaching out to some of you Freshers here. You’re about to get thrown in the deep end of life and will have to look after yourself. A scary prospect?
The lack of domestic skills among students can be pretty shocking. I knew a guy who didn’t know how to cook pasta! Other people I lived with could whip-up the most incredible meals from nothing. I sat somewhere in the middle.
For those of you who need a little guidance and will appreciate the tips, we’re here for you. After all, student survival is in our name!
To get you started here’s a handy video we found on making a bed. We know some of you wont have had to do this before. So, get the sheets out and start practicing!
September 16th, 2011 → 2:38 pm @ Mark Ledden
The start of a new academic year means one thing at Univertsity; Freshers Week! This is the one week of the year where normal rules don’t apply. Be sure to make the most of it Here’s five tips to keep in mind.
There’s no point spending the first two weeks of the year pretending you’re somebody else just to make friends. You won’t be able to keep the game up for long. Be yourself, there’s no need to be anything else.