Pro and Cons of Commuting

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Are you thinking of coming to Essex and wondering if commuting is for you? Or are you already an Essex student who doesn’t have a clue about living arrangements next year and deciding whether to commute? Well fear not because I am here to give you my pros and cons for commuting!

I commute everyday from Ipswich. I lived in towers in my first year, in Greenstead during my second, and for my final year I made the decision to commute. The biggest reason why I moved back home was for the home comforts because to quote Dorthy “there is no place like home”.

Pros of commuting

1. Home comforts: From being at uni, I have learnt I am a very homely person. When I was at uni I missed having the home comforts. I like coming home from work to my mums roast dinner, takeaway nights with my friends and only being round the corner from my boyfriend.

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2. Less responsibility: While living in a house in Greenstead we had a lot of responsibility. Sorting and managing bills, cleaning and general maintenance. We had many things go wrong which were really stressful to sort out. For example our toilet started leaking through the ceiling, our oven door broke and the handle fell off the bathroom door. I found it really stressful so for my final year I wanted it to be stress free. I am very lucky at home if something goes wrong my dad will sort it out! Good old dad.

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3. Saving money: From doing a term of commuting I have saved money! Although my student loan has been reduced I have a lot less to pay out. While living in a house you have to pay out rent, water, gas, electric, wifi, tv license & food. While living at home I give my parents a bit towards everything and then pay for petrol to get to uni. I can also work more so I’m earning more money too.

4. Better work environment: I always really struggled to work in my room when living on campus. Someone was always playing loud music or constant doors banging. So if I wanted to get any work done I’d have to drag all my work to the library. Living at home means I can get my work done while drinking a cuppa and getting up to get any snacks I want!

Cons of commuting

1. Travelling: This is a big con. On a good day, it takes me 35 minutes to drive to uni. On a bad day it could take an hour. I get stuck in a traffic jam at least once a week! Once they closed a bridge near Ipswich and the whole of Ipswich went into meltdown and I got stuck for 3 hours on a dual carriageway 5 minutes from my house. How you’re getting to uni everyday is something you’ll need to consider and how much time it will take!

 

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2. Missing the university experience: I am glad I didn’t commute all 3 years because I made some great friends while living in towers. The one thing I miss is not being able to go out with them like I used to when I lived near campus! I will always cherish the memories I have made at uni!

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3. No experience of independence: I think if you commute for all 3 years you will miss out on learning some important life skills. Learning how to look after yourself. Learning how to manage your money, learning how to cook proper meals and how to clean. I have come a long way from starting uni with only the knowledge of how to cook pasta, to becoming a spag bol master!

Commuting is personal choice. Some people will choose a uni close to home so they can commute while others will move to the other side of the country just to get away! It’s important to do what is best for you!

The 7 stages of revision we can all relate to

It’s officially May and you know what that means…exams start this month *cue uncontrollable crying*. This means we’ve all been busy cramming in some revision, or have at least tried to anyway, and with the hours of despair that this brings, I have written the 7 stages of revision that I think we all face!

The organisation stage

The first step of revision is organising all your work to make it look like you actually know what you are doing. You get your  notes out, line your coloured pens and highlighters neatly (because if they aren’t neat you obviously can’t be productive) and get your revision Spotify playlist ready for the long day ahead.  Now your revision is organised, you surely deserve a break?!

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The first social media scroll of the day stage

The first social media scroll soon happens usually after you have organised your notes. That was enough hard work getting your work neat and a cheeky look on Facebook won’t hurt. Or maybe you were able to hold on that little bit longer and start some work by now?! But eventually you give in. It might be because your phone flashed up with a ‘long day in the library’ Snapchat from your mate (which obviously you have to respond to) or someone has tagged you in a student meme that totally sums up your life right now.

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When you actually pick a pen stage

You’re organised, you’re up to date with all the memes, you can finally pick up a pen. And this is when the real work starts. You have worked up to this moment. You have motivated yourself. This is how you are going to get that 2:1.

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Tea break/coffee break/energy drink break stage

Whether your go to drink is tea, coffee, an energy drink, or a fancy Starbucks drink, the thought of stopping revision to have one is tempting. The good thing about this is getting a drink is the perfect excuse to take a break from your revision. You can’t go thirsty can you! You may do this a number of times in the day. My preference is a cup of tea and obviously while the kettle is boiling I have another cheeky scroll on Facebook. My revision is pretty much based around my tea breaks, but if I’m revising on campus, I try not to be tempted to spend money and be unhealthy by going to buy some fancy Starbucks drink. (Then again, it’s exam season… so I deserve a treat right?!)

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The trying to do anything but revise stage

You’re got all your fancy fine liners out, you’re got the revision cards and you’ve got your tasty Starbucks drink. But you can’t seem to focus on revision. You mind wanders, wondering the big questions in the world like “Are Zebras black on white or white on black?” and “What was called orange first, the colour or the fruit?”. Or perhaps you are looking at holidays, planning to tan yourself after this misery called exam season ends. What ever you’re doing.. it’s not revising and it’s not going to help you pass your exams.

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The ‘panic’ or the ‘I can do this’ stage

You’ve been doing work for a number of hours now. You’re thinking about calling it a day on revision, but at this point your study session has gone one of 2 ways; you’re either starting to panic, or you’re thinking ‘I’ve got this!’.

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The morning of the exam stage

It’s the morning of the exam and their are 2 types of people. Those who are trying do that last minute cram revision with all their lecture notes around them in the library or outside the exam hall, or the one that I tend to take, what will be will be and I can’t change it with a last look at my revision notes!

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Happy revising 🙂

Dealing with pre-exam nerves

Exam season can be a pretty nerve wracking time. It doesn’t help by the fact you’re probably spending late nights in the library, only having an energy drink to keep you awake. Last year, I got so worked up about my exams I ended up having a panic attack in one of them. I’ve since then learned from my mistakes and I am writing this blog to give you tips on how to deal with pre-exam nerves and anxiety.

Have a good mindset: exams are important but not more important than you

Stress in small amounts is good for you. It shows you that you may need to be working harder or that you need to change your revision plan. But a lot of stress…that can really affect your mental health, as I found out last year. If you can’t control something and you are doing the best that you can, then accept it and just do your best!

Last year I had 7 exams in 12 days. I was so stressed about it all and felt so anxious. I was working 9am till 9pm, only taking breaks to eat because I really wanted that 2:1! This isn’t healthy. In my 4th exam I had a panic attack with an exam the next morning too. It was a horrible feeling. But I realise now that I shouldn’t have put so much pressure on myself. I was doing the best I could and that was what mattered. I couldn’t change the situation, so should have not got so anxious about achieving the grades I wanted. Keep a good mindset and just try your best!

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Take breaks

Everyone has there preferred time of day that they work better. I like to get up early and revise until tea time then have the evening off to chill and have a break from revision.  You might rather sleep in and get up and start doing work about 2 and then do work till later in the evening. You might prefer to do a couple of hours, have a couple hours break, then do some more. But it is important to fit in breaks. You will be far less productive if you don’t! And it is also not good for your mind set if all you’re thinking of all day everyday is revision.

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Make a plan

The more organised and prepared you are, the the less nervous you are going to feel about your exams. Make a revision plan. Plan each day with what revision you are going to do. Spread time wisely across each exam. Don’t leave the exam you hate till the week before.. you’ll feel worse and more stressed for it!

Eat healthily and exercise regularly

I find that exercise is a nice break from studying. Not only does it help me think I’m staying in shape (with all the extra stress food I’m eating), but it also is good for studying because of the hormones it releases. There are certain foods that are meant to help with stress. The one that I always rely on is dark chocolate. I’ll have a couple of squares a day as a treat. Unfortunately, some of the other foods don’t sound so appealing, but they include leafy vegetables, salmon, blueberries, avocados and seeds.

Try relaxation techniques such as meditation

It is important during exam season to relax. Meditation is a great way to do this. It has many benefits such as reducing stress, improves concentration, increases self-awareness and practice benefits cardiovascular and immune health. There are apps you can download that can help you and Youtube videos too.

Over the Easter break I went to a yoga retreat in Portugal. It was my friends idea and after my panic attack last year I thought it would be a great way to de-stress. Here is a picture before a mediation, me standing closest to the camera.

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Exam season can be a scary time, even if you prefer exams over coursework (like me). Remember they will come to a end and the horrible exam zombie you have become will go away. And once they are over, you have a 3 month summer to look forward to! Good luck with your exams 🙂

 

Easter Revision Tips

As a Psychology student, I know that research has shown that the longer the period of time you try to remember a piece of information the more you will remember. So that means the earlier you start your revision the better! If you spread 20 hours of revision over 3 weeks it is a lot better for your memory than 2 days of cramming! So basically, if you’re reading this and haven’t started revising yet… open your first revision book and crack on!

Make a plan

Start to plan on what days you are going to get some revision done . There is no way you should be revising every single day.. I mean it is called a holiday for a reason! But you want to make sure on the days you are revising you are putting your time to use. If you wake up at 11 thinking “yeah might finally crack on with some revision today” spend another 2 hours lounging around and figuring out what revision you could do and you’ll probably just end up crying because you realise how much revision you have.  Stop the waterworks. It’s time to make a plan.

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Tips on how to make a good plan

Spread your time wisely

Think about how much each exam is worth. Full year modules will be worth 30 credits while half year will be worth 15 credits. You want to try and spread your time equally if each exam is worth the same amount or spend a bit more time on those full year module exams. Also each module’s exam may be worth different percentage of the module grade. So for example I have exams that are 75% of my module grade and 50% of module grade.

Look at past papers

Look at what type of exams it is. It could be essay based, short questions, multiple choice or a mix. You need a make a plan around what type of revision you need to do. For essay exams you may not need to learn every lecture but learn a few more in-depth. For example one of my exams is 1 essay out of 6. So if I learn 5 lectures 1 will defiantly come up. While if you have a multiple choice exam you will need to learn each lecture but not so in depth. So plan your revision according.

Plan what days you are going to revise

Plan a reasonable amount of time in your week to revise! Also make sure you are having days off too! Easter is also about chilling (and eating chocolate!).

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Try and stick to the plan but don’t pressure yourself!

When creating a plan you may have missed judged it. Realising actually you can’t get through as many lecture notes as you thought in a day. Don’t be dishearten just alter the plan to suit your own revision plan. That’s of course if you’re not having facebook breaks every 10 minutes!

Other revision advice: Try and find quiet and non distracting place to revise

If you have gone home for easter finding somewhere appropriate to revise may be hard. My dad likes to put his bass speakers up loud (yes my 50 year old dad!) so I know how hard it can be to get some peace at home. How tempting it can be to revise in bed.. that’s probably no good too! Find somewhere you can set up all your work and is quiet. Maybe a kitchen table if you don’t have a desk in your room! If the place you could revise is usually loud, you could always ask you family to be quiet for a couple hours. Or most places often have library you could go study in too!

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I hope your easter holidays are going well and you’re also having a well deserved break! Eat some chocolate and do some revision 🙂

Exploring the East of England: beyond the Essex border

I have lived in the East of England all my life, either in Ipswich or in Colchester. And I love it here. 15 minute drive out and you’re in the countryside, 20 minute drive and you’re at the beach, and it’s not too fair from London either! In this blog I am going to tell you about the gems of the East of England, in Suffolk and Norfolk. Lets go beyond the Essex border!

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 The Farm

Suffolk is the neighbouring county to Essex and it has a reputation for being very country. So what is more country than a trip to the farm?  Suffolk was a lot of farms to explore including Easton Farm Park, Jimmy’s farm and Baylham House Rare Breed Farm. Depending on the farm, you might get to feed the animals, hold lambs and see a range of different farm yard animals! Check them out to find out what each farm has to offer and how much entry is! Here’s a picture of me loving life with a sheep last weekend at Easton Farm Park!

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The beach

The best thing about living in the east of England is you’re never too far from the coast! There are so many good beaches to go to in Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk! Felixstowe is my local beach and you can get a train there via Ipswich. It is quite a stoney beach and maybe not as much there as Clacton, but who doesn’t love an ice-cream by the sea?!

Bored of the beaches in Essex? How about Great Yarmouth in Norfolk? Great Yarmouth is basically the childhood holiday of everyone who lives in the East of England! I’d go on holiday to Great Yarmouth and see the whole of my high school while I was there! Great Yarmouth has a pier, arcades, rides, seaside shops, sealife aquarium and of course the beach! You can get there by getting the train from Colchester to Norwich and then Norwich to Great Yarmouth.

Norfolk beaches are also known for being home to seals. You tend to be able to find them at Horsey beach. You can also take a boat trip to go and see them too!

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Flatford Mill

Another gem of Suffolk is Flatford Mill. It is great for a walk or a picnic but the best part about Flatford Mill is that you can higher rowing boats and row down the River Stour. This is one of my favourite things to do in the summer and it is so relaxing! Perfect way to de-stress from the thought of revision!

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Framlingham Castle

 Are you any chance an Ed Sheeran fan? Do you know his song castle on the hill? Well it is about Framlingham castle! This is proper getting into Suffolk countryside. You can walk along the castle grounds and take a picnic! If you love a bit of country side and want to see where Ed Sheeran spent his teenage years tend this is the place to go!

Norwich Shopping

 Because who doesn’t love a bit of retail therapy? Norwich is the place to go if you want a city with a decent shopping centre. It is the best place to go for shopping in the east of England. With plenty of variety of shops and places to eat! There is also a castle and a cathedral  if you want some culture too.

Ipswich Waterfront

 So Ipswich is my hometown. Although it doesn’t have the biggest town of shops it’s still nice if you like to go somewhere different to shop! But the best bit of Ipswich is the waterfront. It is near the university and not a long walk from the train station. It has restaurants, a pub and hotels. If you do go to the Ipswich waterfront I would suggest going for a drink or meal in the pub Isaac’s. My cousin had his wedding their last year and it’s a lovely little pub! It is the beer garden to be when we get that 2 day heatwave!

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So that’s pretty much everywhere I have spent my childhood summed up. The great thing about living in Essex is that you can easily get to places in Suffolk and Essex by trains and bus!

 

5 ways to spot your perfect University

Choosing the right university is an important decision and you want to get it right! You go round to all the open days and talks and you can’t decide which one is the best option for you. I believe their are 6 factors when choosing the right university. And I will tell you why these 6 factors lead me to choosing Essex!

Your degree subject

By now you may  know what subject you want to do, so the first thing to ask yourself is does the university you’re looking at do your perfect degree? I don’t just mean ‘do they run the degree you want’ I mean, ‘does the course sound interesting and does it cover the aspects of the topic that you’re interested in?’

I found Essex when my local university didn’t do the Psychology degree I wanted. I was considering a few universities and then I saw the Psychology department at Essex and it just had everything I wanted! They have lots of computer labs, testing booths and equipment and the course itself sounded really interesting; that’s when I knew I had to come to Essex!

My tip: Go and look round departments, go to any talks they offer, read the prospectus or check them out on the web and see what they can offer you!

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Studying Facilities

Another important factor when choosing a university is the facilities they have for you to study. I know that you might be more excited for the social life uni will give you, but considering how and where you’re going to be sitting until 3am writing essays, or your dissertation, is a huge factor when it comes to deciding which University you think is the best for you. Surprisingly, not all Universities have many places that you can actually sit down and study that isn’t a silent library!

Essex stood out to me because it has a lot of different studying facilities. There are 23 different places around the university that have computers for your to use, including PC labs, the student centre and the library. There are 5 floors in the library filled with books to help you do your essays. There are plenty of quiet study spaces dotted around each floor, and don’t forget the reading room on the ground floor! Or, if you like a quiet but a little more social environment, the newly built student centre has a number of computers and study spaces perfect for this!

Essex is not short of places to study which was an important factor for me, especially now I commute so spend a lot of my day in the student centre!

My tip: If a University has got a particularly good facility for students, it will be showing it off! Look out for the Universities that promote their study spaces and have information about them. If a University isn’t saying much about it, you’ve got to ask why that might be.

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Location Location Location

The location of your uni is extremely important. Is your chosen uni a 4-hour drive away and you want to move as far away from home as possible? Or is it just down the road which is exactly what you want, when you want to pop back home for a Sunday roast? What drew me to Essex was that I lived far enough to be living in a different town, but I then had to option to commute too.

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It’s also really important to think about what you want to be near when you’re at Uni. Being in a city might seem like a great idea, but can you afford the prices around there, or could you be within commutable distance to a city, without the city prices?! Would you be happy to have to travel quite far on buses or trams to get to your lectures, or would you prefer everywhere to be nearby to each other and within greener surroundings? Access to the great outdoors might be especially important for those sporty people out there!

I love Essex because it has everything in one place with various restaurants, shops, bars and their own nightclub all a few minutes of each other!  I loved the idea of everything being in one place.  It often meant in first year when I lived on campus I didn’t need to leave campus very often, but if you did want to go in to town it’s just a cheap 20-minute bus ride and nearby train stations mean that it’s easy to get into London too! It’s the ideal location to get the best of both worlds: a green campus, but close to a bustling town and city.

My tip: Think about what you really couldn’t live without before you decide where you want to spend the next 3+ years of your life. Whilst university is the perfect time to live life completely differently, the novelty of living in a way you’re unused to can quickly wear off if you haven’t really thought it through. Take a look at student profiles or blogs on the web to see how they feel about living and studying at that particular university – genuine insights are the best way to figure out what might be right for you.

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Extra curricular activities

University is an experience and not just a degree. You will gain so many life skills and experiences – not just what your degree teaches you! Even if right now you think you wouldn’t want to get involved in any clubs or societies, you have to think down the line and what might look good on your CV too.

Perhaps at some point you’d like to learn a language, do a placement year, or do a year studying abroad? Find out what each university offers – even if you don’t think you’d be interested in those opportunities right now, you might be in three years. Some unis offer opportunities much cheaper than others, so it’s definitely worth bearing in mind.

Essex does has a lot to offer someone who wants to get fully involved in university life. There are over 40 different sports clubs for you to get involved in! There is also lots of different choice in society’s and volunteering opportunities, as well as the opportunity to learn languages in several different ways alongside your degree and a lot of courses also have the option to study abroad for a year in loads of different countries! I was drawn by the idea there was lots of opportunity to get involved during my time at Essex!

My tip: Check out stats to see how your university is rated for student satisfaction – this is a great indication of how many experiences and opportunities are available, as well as the overall happiness of the students that have already been there. A uni with a low rating probably doesn’t have much to offer and students probably didn’t have that good of an experience!

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Work opportunities

Although you go to university to get a degree, it is handy to get gain some experience along the way and money. If you know you’ll need a job while at university then make sure you look at the employability options at the universities! Another thing to consider is how can you make your CV look better for when you graduate?

Something Essex focuses on  is learning employability skills, so that once we finish our degrees, we are well equipped to go out in the big wide world!  Essex provides a lot of opportunity to gain them skills, from on campus jobs to earn a bit of extra money,  to the frontrunner scheme and volunteering opportunities. Essex was right for me because it helped me to build a CV and make me more prepared to leave university and find a job. I have participated in a number of job opportunities, including a frontrunner placement and advise anyone who comes here to get involved!

My tip: I know it seems like a way off now, but you really do have to think about what you’re going to do after University and what help you can get during your degree. These days, graduates have more than just a degree under their belt, so how is your university going to help you stand out from everyone else?

I hope these 5 factors will help you choose the university that is right for you! For me personally, Essex was the perfect choice! If you have any questions just comment below, or send your questions to the uni on Facebook or Twitter 🙂

10 memes all university students will relate to

Student life memes are constantly circulating on social media. I am constantly tagging my university friends in memes that totally relate to us as students. Here are some of the memes that us a university student you will relate to!

1. Chandler from friends meme

University can be pretty overwhelming, with everything you feel like you should be doing, when all you really want to do is stay in bed and watch Netflix. Not only do you feel like you should go to all your lectures and finish your assignments, you also need to consider getting a job to earn money/experience and look at enhancing your employability skills! Chandler from friends perfectly sums up have every uni student feels at some point.

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2. Treat yo self

So you’ve finally decided to start the revision for that all important exam. After all that hard work opening your laptop, finding the lecture slides and getting all your notes together, surely you deserve a little treat?!

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3. Why you always lying? guy meme

If you don’t know who this famous face off all memes is… this is the guy that sings a song called ‘why you always lying?’ I’m sure you can connect the dots and see why you totally relate to him. I can hear him singing as soon as I see that smiling face.

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4.Wake up meme

Your alarm goes off for your 9am lecture, you snooze it. And this goes on for the next 20 minutes. Then you start to wonder if these early starts are really worth the degree. In hind sight probably are…maybe.meme3

5. When you’re not sure what your doing for your assignment

You start an assignment but you soon realise you’re out of the depth and have no idea what was going on. You start writing in the hope that you come out with something half decent.

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6. ‘Sorry I can’t go out this weekend’ starter pack

It’s been a long week of snoozing your alarm and trying to writing your essays. All your flatmates are on about a big night out this weekend. But you say ‘sorry I can’t go out this weekend I have too much work to do’ when in reality you will just laze around in bed and watch Netflix.

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7. Cancelled lecture emails

You will learn that getting a cancelled lecture email is so much better than a good morning text. However when you get the email when you’re already in the lecture hall 3 minutes before it is about to start… not so good!

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8. ‘University is a walk in the park’ meme

Did anyone else get told ‘University is a lot easier than A levels because you are only doing one subject’. Well it definitely doesn’t feel like it. When you have 4 different modules, it feels like your back in that A level classroom trying to juggle all them lessons! However you do have a lot more free time to make up for it!

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9. Philip Schofe meme

Philip Schofe snapchat story totally sums up at least 1 day of your week. You have 1 lecture or class early in the morning and once that is over, you’ve done enough for the day and you can go home after that ‘long day’ of being a studentmeme8

10. Salt guy meme

This salt guy is thought to be the ‘meme of January’. It totally sums up the feeling of using one of these eight words in an essay. ‘I’ll just sprinkle a bit of thus here and furthermore there’.

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I hope this gave you a bit of a laugh in your haze of revision and essay writing 🙂

How to prepare for the independence of university months before you go!

University isn’t just about the studying and getting a degree. It is also about learning life lessons and most importantly gaining independence. But this is a big step. One day you go from mums home cooked dinner, cleaning (and lets face it she probably packed half your stuff!) to staring at the hob with a saucepan in hand thinking “right how do I turn this thing on?” But this step might not be so big if you do some preparing now.

Step 1: Buy the university essentials

So the first step to preparing for your independence is buying the things you’ll need to cook, clean and survive at university! Things such as saucepans, frying pan, cutlery, iron, can opener etc. Don’t go over board, buying things that you’re not even sure how to use it! Buy the things you’ll think you need. Do you never peel potatoes? Then don’t worry with the peeler! Hate grated cheese? Then leave the cheese grater out! Save yourself some money (which you can then use for freshers!) Starting to buy stuff now eliminates the pressure of having to buy everything in one go and inevitably forgetting something!

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Step 2: Learn to cook your own meals

If you’re anything like me, before I started uni the extent to my cooking was putting pasta in a saucepan or putting bread in a toaster. I had no idea how to cook for myself. And I never needed to, so it was great that going to uni gave me this opportunity. And just a FYI there is no toaster in towers…so you can’t just live off toast like you might be planning on!

Learn how to cook simple and quick meals (as well as cheap!). There are some great blogs on the i am essex blog page to give you ideas on the type of meals you could try at uni. My suggestions would be spaghetti bolognese, stir fry, and sweet and sour chicken. These are all easy meals that involve just a frying pan and saucepan! (You don’t even need to learn how to turn the oven on!)

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Step 3: Learn how manage money

So you’re in the process of applying for your student loan, and soon you will know how much money you’ll have to live off at university. The good thing is you get your student loan in termly instalments so if you go a bit mad first term you have a chance to pull it back!

When you know how much you’ll have each term you can start to work out a budget. How much will I have left once I’ve paid for accommodation? How much can I save for freshers week? Will I need to get a job? If you start becoming aware of the money you’ll be living off you can start to manage it! Check out the i am essex page for blogs on budgeting.

You should also start thinking about student bank accounts. I went for Santander which offers a free railcard and a reasonable overdraft! So if you are worried your spending, you’ll always have that to fall back to!

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Step 4: Learn some basic household chores

Another learning step at uni is learning to clean up after yourself and do some chores! One of the most interesting experiences at uni was every 2 weeks (or as long as I could hold on without doing any washing!) I’d have to carry all my washing across campus to the laundry room and try and work out how to use the washing machine!

Before coming to university it is a good idea to learn how to do your washing and ironing. Don’t be that person that put the red sock in with whites and now the clothes are pink! I have to say I really tried to avoid ironing and I pretty much got away with it apart from that one dress that always creased! Learning to iron is a good skill and you’ll be everyone’s favourite!

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Step 5: Getting ready to become an independent university student

Making these steps will help you prepare to become independent! Next step is to put them to test on your university journey.

What is Summer Ball?

If you’re in your first year, you may have started to hear talks about an event called summer ball. Or are you a regretting not going last year and wondering if its worth it this year? Well I am here to tell you the basics.

So what is summer ball? It is the biggest event of the year at the uni! It is like the university’s answer to prom combined with a mini festival! I was very lucky that Summer Ball last year was on birthday so I had the most amazing birthday!

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When, where and how?

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When: Saturday 10th June. Summer ball starts in the evening and goes on until the early hours of the morning.

Where: On Colchester campus fields

How: Tickets go on sale on Friday 31st March. Any leftover tickets will go on sale after this. Tickets are usually around £50. They WILL sale out so don’t miss out!

What to expect

Summer ball is jam packed with lots of activities to keep you busy! There will be many different types of music acts to suit everyone’s music taste. Last year acts included headliner DJ Fresh, Hoosiers (you know the band that sang Good Bye Mr A), majestic, coffee house sessions and a steel drum band. The great thing about summer ball is you end up in a tent listening and dancing to something you never expected! This year’s acts will be announced around April!

There also lots of other entertainment. This includes a ferris wheel, dodgems, inflatables, waltzers and fireworks display. If you’re on the priority list, then this is perfect because it means you can get in early and  get on the rides before the queues start!

summerball-wheel

There are also a lot of food stalls and bars. My favourite was the bbq chicken wraps and Nutella waffles. I am still dreaming on getting my hands of summer balls food again! Summer ball is a no cash event though, so you need to buy tokens that you pick up to exchange for drinks and food.

summer-ball-waffle

5 reasons why you should get a ticket

So you know a bit more about what summer ball is why should you buy a ticket? Here is my 5 reasons why!

  1. It’s the last night out of the university year! It’s a great way to celebrate the end of the year with all your uni mates!

2. It is not like any other night out on campus. In no other night out will you get the            chance to see a variety of different music acts, entertainment and rides all at your fingertips.

3. The variety of music acts. Often sub-zero will have a DJ come and play on a Saturday night. But at summer ball you will get to see a number of DJ’s, bands and other music acts all in one place. Just like a mini festival!

4. An excuse to go all out! Everyone gets a little bit more dressed up for summer ball. It’s a great excuse to buy that new dress or the dust off the suit you never wear!

5. You get the opportunity to be a summer ball survivor. It is a sort of achievement to last right till the end of summer ball. The sun has risen, your tired, and dreaming of your bed…but who cares?! You survived summer ball!

summerball-survival

My verdict, don’t miss out on the biggest night on campus! Like the Summer Ball Facebook page for more updates!

Revision techinques

After 6 years of exams I think I have mastered revision now. I know what type of revision to do that makes it more interesting and helps me remember the most information. Often different types of exams suit different types of revision.

My biggest piece of advice for revision is to use more than one method. You could have up to 8 exams. Doing the same thing over and over will get tedious and that is no way to get the material into your brain! Switch it up and make it as fun as possible!

Lecture notes

Writing up a lecture is a great way to start your revision. It refreshes your memory about what you have learnt in your lectures and you can change it into your own words, making the notes catered to you. I like to use colour pens to make each section of information stand out. I will then use these lecture notes to revise from along with the lecture slides.

revision

Mind Map:

There are several ways you could use mind maps.

  1. You could write each topic in the middle and write around it the important sub headings. E.g for a mind map about Working Memory I explain the different parts such as visuospatial sketchpad, central executive etc.
  2. You could choose a sub heading and write all the information to do with that subheading e.g for a sub heading on Visuospatial sketchpad I would explain what it does and any research to do with it.
  3. You could get a bigger size paper e.g A3 and write out all the important information from one lecture.

 

mind-map

Listen Again

Listen again really is a god send. It has saved me sooo many times from when I have gaps in my notes or I didn’t understand something. It is a way of doing the lecture again in your own time! For one of my January exams I was constantly using listen again! A lot of the content was hard to get your head around, so listening to it again really helped me understand it. It also means you can sit at home with a cup of tea and feel relaxed.

Flashcards/question cards

flash-cards

Once you’re been over material the best way of learning is to test your knowledge! Create flash cards with a subject on one side and the answers on the other and get someone to test you! Or create question cards and test yourself after you’ve gone over a lecture.

Essay plans

If your exam involved writing essays then making essay plans is a good idea! You might go over your lectures 10 times but when you come to your exam you need to actually be able to write an essay. Most subjects will include past papers so that you can have a look at previous exam questions and plan an essay for that question!

Practice questions

practice

In exams that you have short answer questions or maths questions the only way you’re really going to know if you are doing it right is by practising! If your lecturer hasn’t provided you with practice questions then ask if you can have some… practice makes perfect!

Teaching someone else

Studies have shown that one of the most productive ways to revise is to teach it to someone else. If you have a willing friend/partner/parent then try and teach them some of the material you are learning. Telling someone else the information can help you to have a better understanding of it.

Study Group

A good resource is using your fellow students! Going over and discussing information together means you can help each other and you are more likely to retain the information. It is also a great way to test each other. Get your flash cards and question cards out and learn together! It makes revision more interesting instead of being stuck staring at the same 4 walls! If you are going to use a study group make sure you are actually going to work because study groups could be a negative to studying too!

There are areas in the student centre were you can form study groups or in the orangery zone too.

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Remember to take care of yourself during exam season. Take plenty of breaks and remember you can do this!