Getting a Part Time Job at Uni

Whether you’re after a bit of work experience or a little boost in your bank balance, a part time job can be a pretty valuable thing to have. Not only does it look great on your CV, but a part time job gives you a bit of a break from studying with the added bonus of a bit of extra money every month!

Whilst sometimes the struggle to get a part time job can be relentless, if you know what to do and where to look it doesn’t have to be that bad!

From job hunting in the past, here are some of my top tips in securing that perfect part time job…

Tidy up your CV!

essex-cv

Before you look for any jobs, you need to make sure that your CV is up to scratch. Although it may seem like an insignificant piece of paper, it is really valuable for an employer to see what kind of a person you are.

If you haven’t updated your CV for a while or if you’ve never written one before, then check out the Essex CV pack. This is a brilliant resource with everything you need to ace your CV. If you’re still struggling then go and visit the wonderful people at the Employability and Careers centre and they look through your CV with you!

 

Keep an eye out for things

binoculars

Some jobs like Student Ambassador and ones offered by the SU are only recruited for at certain times of the year. Therefore, you only have a small window of opportunity where you can apply for them. If you don’t necessarily need a job straight away then the best thing is to keep your wits about for when opportunities open.

 

Look at your options

know-your-options-main

Ask yourself what you want to get out of a job. Is it just a few hours to make a few quid to go out with, or do you need something a bit more to help with living costs? There are a lot of jobs out there and they are all looking for something completely different. Have a think at what this might be as this will probably influence what you apply for. Also remember that it’s as much as finding a perfect job for you as an employer finding an ideal employee for their business!

 

Ask your mates about how they got their jobs

foot-in-door1

One of the hardest things about getting a part time job is getting yourself in the door, but if you know someone that already works there, it can make your job a whole lot easier. Whilst they probably won’t be able to give their mates a job on the spot, they will probably have some useful advice about what the employer is looking for. On the other hand, if you’re lucky then they might even be able to put a good word in for you to their employers!

 

Check online (Careers Hub/SU website)

all new careerhub

Another great resource offered by the Employability and Careers centre is Careers Hub. This is an online resource which has loads of part time jobs on there in the local area. This is where all the Frontrunner and UROP placements are advertised too! If you’re on the lookout for a job then this is a great place to start looking; jobs appear all the time on there.

Finally, above all don’t be disheartened if you don’t find something straight away! It might not happen straight away, but you’ll get there in the end with the right mindset! Things like always asking for feedback if you don’t get a job and getting careers advice from someone will help you in the long run.

Happy job hunting 😊

Things to consider before studying in the UK: an EU student’s perspective

There are certain moments in your life where you’re quite clueless when it comes to making big decisions. You don’t really know what the outcome will turn out to be. When you’re a teenager, even though you’re not allowed to go to the toilet without asking the teacher, you are put in a position where you need to decide the path of your entire life; you have to ask yourself, should I go to university or not? Then, more difficult questions start coming; what kind of university should I choose? Should I base my decision on university rankings, or will that confuse me more? What kind of degree should I study? And, in my case, I had to answer another difficult question: do I stay in Romania, or apply to the UK? Ultimately I chose to study in the UK, but there were a lot of things I needed to think about before I made my choice.

Fees

I’d heard stories about the cost of studying in the UK being expensive, or it not being within reach for me, but I’m here in my final year and I could afford it! The tuition fees when I enrolled were £ 9,000 per year, and the average cost of accommodation here is between £3,000- £7,000 per year. Ideally, after that you’d be able to live on around £4,000 for things like food, going out, clothes etc. I know that’s a lot of numbers and you might be thinking, how could I possibly afford that? Don’t worry! I  went through that as well, but it is possible.

The most expensive thing to pay for are the tuition fees, which could be either paid in 3 instalments, or, the choice I opted for, the UK government tuition fee loan, which I will need to give back after I graduate and once I’m earning over a certain amount. If you haven’t been able to earn more than that per year within 30 years, your loan will be erased. If you decide that you don’t want to continue to live in the UK after you graduate, the loan will vary  based on the salary in the country in which you are planning to live.

Luckily for me, my rent was  covered by my parents in my first year and they contributed to my spending habits, as well. I would certainly advise you to take in account every penny you spend and before arriving here. You can’t presume that you’ll get a part time job right away and get enough money to sustain your living. Take every aspect into account and that way there’ll be no nasty surprises. I got my first proper job in my second year and therefore had a little extra spending money for food and going out. It is quite tricky combining working with studying, but it has offered me a new outlook and opportunities to look forward to.

Homesickness

I have battled feeling homesick just like everyone else I know. Regardless of being an EU, UK or International student, everyone has it at some point. It’s normal. But it will pass, trust me. In fact, you’ll get to a stage where you’ll wish you could stay at uni forever!

Extra-Curricular opportunities

In UK universities, there is a lot of independent study, rather than being spoon-fed by your teachers. This means that you get to spend more time doing extra curricular things, as well as just studying! But, if you do need or want a bit more time with your academics, they have on-to-one office hours available to book.

The one extra-curricular activity that everyone should get involved in are the SOCIETIES! Yes! How else could you spend your free time if not being part of a society or being a volunteer?! Here at Essex, I have found that there seems to be a society for everything! Imagine the most obscure, unknown thing on the planet and there probably is a society for it here, but even if there isn’t you can set your own up. Just think about all the possibilities! They are unlimited!

Plus there are Sports clubs and teams, exercise classes, on-campus jobs and volunteering opportunities to get involved in.

Life after graduation

Wouldn’t it be great if your uni could offer you life time support when it comes to finding a career, or perfecting your cv and job applications? Well guess what…it exists! Essex has a Careers Centre to help you find a job, tailor your CV and help you with mock interviews! And it truly helps you feel prepared and prepare yourself for any kind of challenge. On top of that, you’ll receive emails with job opportunities, as well as a portal through which you can check job offers, which can be aimed specifically at students at a certain University.

All in all, there is one thing that you should be certain about: here, in the UK everything, and I mean everything, has been thought through to help students evolve and learn in a setting which tries to go beyond comfortable, something that will enhance your experiences and aims to get you that career that you always wanted!

Until the next time,

Mimi.

 

Essex Bucket List

Probably the most important thing on your TO DO LIST while at the university is to graduate at the end of it, but in the meantime there is so much to explore and experience! Here are a few things every student should do at least one during the time at Essex:

16847046642_d6f0e2f814_k

1. Join a Club or Society
Whether it’s acro-yoga, meditation, origami, or philosophy society, it’s a great way to meet people with similar interests, improve your skills and just be a part of something great! Trips, events and themed socials will make your time at the university unforgettable!

35021548915_942f5d1e6a_b

2. Perform at the Open Mic
Every Friday night the Lakeside Theatre hosts the Open Mic night, so you can share any talent or thought you have in a cosy and friendly atmosphere of the Theatre Café. The mic and the stage are yours, so you can show off whatever you like: from singing to playing an instrument, to dancing, to reading out a poem or a manifesto, to doing a magic trick…take your chance!

3. Make a full round in library lift
The library lift amazes loads of people when they see it the first time, because it never stops. You step into it while it’s moving and step out while it’s moving, and it goes round and round. But actually, the rules say you cannot do a full circle with the lift, so don’t do it. Ever…

3342911208_4dd52a525a_b

4. Go to SubZero
Some people say it’s awesome, some people say it’s not so awesome. If you think it’s not awesome, go and make it awesome, at least once!

5. Sleep in Nightline
It comes very handy when you live off campus, especially after a long night in the library or a night out. You might have no energy to go back home, or you might just be looking for a mini adventure, exploring the campus and doing something you haven’t done before. Here you go! A nice chat, a piece of toast, and a blanket are waiting for you. And there is even a chance you won’t be late to your 9 am lecture!

9147045010_a691e85ddb_h

6. Go for a Year Abroad
If you only get one chance, just get out of your shell and go to the unknown! Living in a new place and in a different culture might be a life changing experience, so don’t miss out!

7. Hand in an essay early
You know the adrenaline you feel when you open Faser and see a big red countdown: “Deadline in 2h 20min 39sec” when you’re only half way through your paper? Some people can only write essays in these extreme conditions and somehow they make it without a heart attack. But how about starting to write your essay as soon as the task appears and getting it out of the way a month before the deadline, at least this one time, just to prove yourself that you can? Isn’t that way crazier than pulling all-nighters all the time?

DSC_0182 (2)

8. Visit the Art Exchange
The place where exhibitions, talks with artists, and art classes happen is at our campus and it’s free for students! Have a break and just show up to the Art Exchange on square 5, or get involved in one of the art sessions. Get your creative juices flowing! Shake your booty and explore the movements with the dancing class, free your energy with African drumming, or capture a naked yogi with some chalk on a piece of paper.

9. Do a trolley race
When you encounter a random trolley somebody ditched after a trip to the superstore for their weekly shopping, sometimes you just can’t stop yourself. That’s OK. Just mind the stairs and civilians.

14417055689_e2208a42e9_k

10. Go to the Lakeside Theater
Every Thursday there is a different play, sometimes performed by our students and sometimes by professional actors, in both cases they are stunning and very much worth giving it a try. Last month we went to the Translunar Paradise and the whole audience was secretly wiping the tears. Give it a go!

3562589946_dd2b1319a2_b

11. Have a BBQ by the lakes
Gather your friends, bring some food to share with everybody, some instruments, some games, and just enjoy a chilled afternoon by the lakes with ducklings, rabbits and squirrels coming to say hello.

5203823231_05ea625f9a_b

12. Take part in fundraising, manifestation or protest
Make some noise for the right cause. Become an activist for a while and start or support any project that you think is right and worth making noise about. At the university you have a chance to express your views and not being criticized by it; also, in such multicultural community you will always find people who share your views and will want to unite and work together. Even the smaller change for the better is a step forward, so find your voice and use it!

13. Put up your photo in SU Bar
SU bar designed their walls with loads of frames that are waiting to be filled in with the photos of the students. Leave a memory before you go!

 

Do you have anything to add to the Essex Bucket List? Share your experiences and ideas in the comments 🙂 And whatever you do, have a great time!

 

How to actually get work done: tips from a master procrastinator

I’m a huge procrastinator. I love to procrastinate. I’m procrastinating writing this article right now, in fact. Here are some tips I use to make myself have more Willpower (Haha, because my name is Will).

Eat before, not during.

For me, eating is a full time activity. I can’t forego the pleasure of my meal deal just so I can half-heartedly write an essay plan at the same time. If you’re eating, you shouldn’t be working. Eating is fun and triggers the reward centres in your brain or whatever. Save it for the break. Speaking of which…

Don’t work for too long in one go. Cup of tea breaks are very important.

You should probably aim for around half an hour before having a ten minute break to go and get a cup of tea or coffee or budget energy drink (if the situation is really that dire) so you don’t get overwhelmed or frazzled. Obviously if you’re really getting into it, you should ride the wave until it crashes. But don’t stress yourself out. That’ll just make you want to work less next time.

Use the day! You will never get anything done at night.

You should wake up early! Easier said than done, I know, but if you get into the habit of going to the library by, like, 10am on your off days, you can stay till 4pm and have done six hours of work! That’s a full day! You can go home after that and just watch Narcos or whatever until someone texts you about going to the SU bar. Next thing you know you’re belting out Shania at Milk It and you don’t even feel guilty because you did a full day’s work. Lovely.

Stick on some ambient noise instead of playing bangers.

The temptation when you’re working is to make it way more palatable by loading up the Teen 00s Party playlist on Spotify and getting lost in S Club. But before you know it, it’s midnight and you’ve accidentally transcribed the lyrics to Reach For The Stars into your essay on Nietzsche. My advice is to stay away from the fun stuff, and reach for some ambient tunes. My personal favourite is Rain Sounds For Babies on Apple Music.

Literally, just put your phone down.

The most basic one, but the hardest to do! We’re millennials (I think?) so obviously we find it impossible to put our phones down. This may be to do with our shortening attention spans, but is definitely to do with the fact we have supercomputers in our pockets capable of reaching the entire world at the push of a button. However, since your phone contains all of your interests in one neat package, it’s literally the worst thing to have in your hand when you’re working. So, turn it entirely off and bury it at the bottom of your bag! If it’s all the way off, the effort to switch it back on will be too great to bother with. You’ll be surprised at how much you get done.

Best Vegetarian Options on Campus

Meat-eaters, stop reading!

.

.

.

Vegetarians….hello. It’s hard for us, right? Not only do we have to deal with every family member, housemate, and partner’s family asking us why we do this (with a look that says “I couldn’t respect you any less for this”), but we have to order the worst food from restaurants too? Karen’s over there with the foie de gras and you’re stuck with the soggy bean burger with lettuce and mayo. Rubbish. Luckily, Essex has heard the plight of the vegetarian and has risen to the occasion. What follows is a list of the best veggie options on campus.

SU Bar: BBQ Quorn Chicken Pizza

The SU Bar is a hotbed for delicious, vaguely unhealthy food that you’ll crave on a cold winter night when your loan is down to the last £10 but you’ve still got 3 weeks left of term and rent due tomorrow. Mozzarella sticks to die for, incredible chili, the BEST mac & cheese. Having said that, by far my favourite thing on the menu is the BBQ Quorn Chicken Pizza.

Fusion: Halloumi and Mushroom Burger

Mmm, halloumi. Always the tastiest option on any menu, and a vegetarian’s fantasy. Fusion does a wicked halloumi and mushroom burger that will make all the meat eaters at your table green with envy, and is a little healthier than some of the other options as well. Honestly, Fusion has an incredible menu with so many different styles of food that it’s actually hard to narrow down (try the veggie hot dog and have your life changed), but for pure hedonistic pleasure, their stylish combo of halloumi and mushroom is unbeatable.

 

Buffalo Joe’s: Mushroom Fritter

Buffalo Joe’s has always been a brilliant late-night option, but this year they really kicked it into the highest gear. The falafel and houmous wrap that was a staple of my first and second year is still there, alive and kicking, but it’s been joined by some fantastic competitors. Chief among them is the glorious mushroom fritter burger. Literally a deep fried portobello mushroom, topped with smoked cheese and mayo, this will satisfy all your cravings in one go. The soft, chewy texture of the mushroom with the satisfying crunch of the batter is a heavenly experience, and I advise every vegetarian (and non-vegetarian) to try it at least once.

The Canteen: Full English (Veggie)

The Canteen’s menu changes every day, and the vegetarian option is always pretty good. Very well priced too. However, it would be lazy of me to just tell you to have “whatever the veggie option is”, so I’ve decided to plump for a Canteen staple: the breakfast. Rumour has it anyone who gets a canteen breakfast before their 9am exam gets a first. I’m not sure how true that is, but I’m willing to believe. You don’t even have to have the meagre veggie breakfast of mushrooms, egg and beans that many restaurants offer. The Canteen has a plethora of veggie options to choose from, including amazing vegetarian sausages.

 

Frango’s: Pulled Quorn Wrap

I’ll be honest, I haven’t visited Frango’s as much as I’d like to have this year. This has nothing to do with the quality of the food, and I’m extremely disappointed in myself for not eating there more. If you’re a fan of the Portuguese chicken restaurant that shall not be named, but wish they had more vegetarian options, Frango’s has got you! They have an astonishing variety of options for us, and they’re really interesting. The pulled Quorn wrap has got my vote, simply because I don’t know of anywhere else that does pulled Quorn. It’s delicious, too, of course.

Happy eating all you veggies!

How To Adult Successfully

So it’s 2018, you think you’re going to make big changes this year because ‘new year, new me!’ You vow to wake up on time for your lectures, not spend all your loan the day it comes in and work hard. Except…it’s now February, and you’ve fallen back into your old habits: you’re back to snoozing your alarm, your bank account is already worryingly low and somehow you’re behind on lectures even though it’s only been a month.

It’s okay if that happens, it’s really hard to actually change behaviours. I’ve been trying to get up earlier this term rather than my normal 11am because I’m so busy, but it’s really hard because I have to self-motivate myself. However, if you find that you’re stressing about things as I always do, there are ways to actually look like you’re a successful adult, even if you probably don’t feel like one yet.

 

  1. Buy a planner/calendar

This is so useful to have on you! A small little diary that you can pick up from a stationary shop or a supermarket for less than £5 and you can write down all the things you need to do and attend. I’m not a forgetful person, but having a visual reminder of something that I need to do is really helpful for me just to remind myself to do something. A calendar is also a really nice visual thing to hang in your room where you can write everything down for the month if you don’t want to carry round a planner.

34505730631_d85f4f92a3_z

  1. Sticky notes

As you can see, there’s a bit of a theme going here; I really like organisation! It gives off the appearance that I actually have my life together. I’ve written about sticky notes before, but they’ve helped me so much just because it’s just another visual way to remind me that I need to do stuff. I try to write a to-do list in the morning and then I aim to tick it all by the end of the day. It’s really satisfying to see all of your jobs ticked off for the day.

Image result for fun post it notes

  1. Budget

The dreaded word right? Your parents are always telling you to be sensible with your money but how can you do that when you need to buy food, alcohol and books? It all adds up, and a lot of people can get a bit overwhelmed. You just need to sit down by yourself or with a friend and go through your recent bank statements to see what the majority of your money is going on. Invest in an app that tracks your spending so you can see where your money is going – they have loads now and they’re really helpful –  and allocate a certain amount of money each week to particular things like shopping, alcohol and emergency things etc. You might find by the end of the month you have spare money which is always a bonus.

giphy1

 

  1. You need three things to be successful: a water bottle, a plastic container and a travel mug

If you followed the last tip and looked at your expenses, you might see that you’re spending nearly £10 a week on coffees and lunches on campus (I know I was at one point) just because it’s so convenient. You can save money on water by using the water fountains on campus; if you use your plastic Tupperware you can save money on lunch by making your own, and with your travel mug you can bring tea or coffee from home. That just saved you around £5 which if you did every day, would save you £25 a week! And if you really can’t beat the coffee habit on campus, then you can still use your travel mug and get 10p off all your hot drinks orders at SU venues

giphy2

 

  1. Make time for yourself

I know this sounds odd, all of the above are about making yourself more organised, saving money and doing ‘adult’ things. But it’s actually really important that you also don’t burn out. University is a really stressful environment, no matter what your parents think, and if you’re constantly stressed and running about doing things it’s going to affect your health. It’s important that after a long week that you take a day to relax, try and not do any work, or at least only a minimal amount and recharge. You’ll find yourself more optimistic about the following week and be ready to give it 100%

Image result for me relaxing after doing the bare minimum dog

These are only a small number of little habits that you can do to save yourself some time and money, but also be a bit more organised and less stressed which I’ve heard is all the things adults aim for! If you’re really struggling to change some habits, there’s loads of websites out there giving helpful advice about things you can do that make your life just that little bit easier.

 

Best deals you can get as a student!

deal 1

One of the best things about being a student, is the world of discounts that you can get a hold of. You may have heard that you can get free McFlurry’s and Cheeseburgers in McDonalds, but that is only where the discounts start my friend! Often all it takes is one quick show of your student card to get a reasonable discount to your bill. Result!

Here’s my guide to finding the very best of deals on the market…

Theatre tickets

deal 2

Theatre’s often have a reputation for being expensive, but a lot of the time they offer a sizeable discount for students. One of the biggest theatre discounts I’ve seen is through being a member of the National Theatre’s Entry Pass scheme. If you’re aged between 16 and 25 then you can get yourself £5 tickets that usually cost more than 8 times as much!

Music Streaming

deal 3

I really don’t know what I’d do without my music streaming! I don’t know how I survived before! Just because you’re a student doesn’t mean that you need to scrimp back on your music! Spotify and Apple Music both offer half price subscriptions for students at £4.99 per month.

Prime Student

deal 4.jpg

This is probably one of the most convenient things ever. By signing up to Amazon’s paid membership scheme you get access to several different features, most of which to be honest I don’t even use! But for last minute shopping and for getting things in a hurry, its one-day delivery service is a godsend! The video streaming service is also quite good too! After a generous 6 month free trail, Student membership is £49 a year. This may seem like a lot of money to pay, but if you shop online a lot then it’s well worth the investment.

Bank Accounts

deal 5

Banks love to rope students in when they go to Uni as people rarely switch bank accounts when they have graduated. This means that they pull out all the stops to lure you in to a potential lifetime of banking with them. Whether it’s overdrafts than can stretch to £3,000 or a 4 year railcard, it’s well worth checking out your options.

BOB

deal 6

Whilst this might not look like a discount, it’s still an awesome way to use your student status to save a bit of money. Box of broadcasts (or BOB for short) is an online portal of on demand TV and radio from the past 10/15 years. Okay, so here’s where the discount comes in… because it’s a learning resource you don’t even need a TV licence to use it!

NUS

deal 7.jpg

The National Union of Students (NUS), famously sell student discount cards that can be used at various retailers up and down the country including the Co-Op. It’s £12 a year to have a card and it’s well worth it if you shop regularly at the places where they accept the card.

Unidays

deal 8

Unidays is NUS’ main rival in offering a one stop shop for student discounts. You can set up an account on the app for free and then you have access to loads of offers including ASOS and Missguided. A lot of NUS’ discounts are also available on Unidays but the main difference is that you Unidays doesn’t offer an option to get a physical membership card. Instead you have to enter a unique code every time you want to use a discount. A brilliant option for those who don’t shop too often.

Many more to discover

These suggestions are only the start of the discounts you could make! Normally shops publicise if they offer a discount or not, but there is no harm in just asking at the checkout if they offer one. You never know how much you could get off! Even if it’s just a few quid, it all adds up! So next time you’re out shopping, it’s worth having your student card in your wallet just in case!

 

Relatable Advice on Revising for Exams and Finishing up Coursework

Holidays are meant to be period of relaxation and fun after surviving an entire term of stress and chaos. Lecturers try to space out the work over the term but for the last 2 weeks, they seem to realise that they miscalculated how much work they’ve given out and have to pile it up which results in mass panics and all-nighters in the library. You finally complete all your assignments and the holidays are here, but if like me, you were unlucky, you were given more coursework to finish in addition to January exams. I told myself I had plenty of time to study. I was right except my brain fed into my confidence and lured me into a false sense of security. Two weeks later, BAM, it hit me that I’d been procrastinating for too long and I had not even looked at the work I had. At least I was all caught up on Agents of SHIELD and the Flash series!

study gone

Here are some good, and hopefully easy tips to creating work-play balanced, stress-free environments:

  1. Sort out the technicalities of your work

By technicalities, I mean workload, all the information that is essential or helpful for your coursework/exams. Gather all the books, lecture notes and resources for the topics you’re using and place them in front of you. Let out a sigh of disbelief then proceed to separating your workload into lectures or chapters etc and calculate, reasonably, how much you can study in one day with regard to how many days you have left.

Businessman Drowning in Paperwork Whirlpool

2. Designate a study area appropriate to your atmospheric preferences

If you like peace and quiet, study in your room. If you like background noise, study on campus. If you don’t like studying then same buddy, but we have to anyways. Find somewhere that you can concentrate on actually doing work, so that you don’t procrastinate. Personally, I cannot study in my room because I find that I have too many distractions around me. I like studying in the Silberrad Student Centre because of background noise. People are probably doing the same thing as me, which motivates me to finish my work.

3. Give yourself generous breaks

During those long periods of revising, you’re bound to naturally get bored or tired and you’ll lose concentration. Take regular breaks in between and if you feel like you’re needing breaks too often, treat yourself to maybe an hour break. Perhaps watch an episode of your favourite show while having a small meal. That way you’ll feel more relaxed and comfortable and able to dive back into your revision. You’ll feel more determined to study harder and finish more work so you can have your well-earned break.

4. Set up a good sleep schedule

As everyone knows, sleep is important, especially during times like these. Your body only requires around 8 hours of sleep, so try to go to bed at around 11pm-12am at the latest and wake up at 8am. Science provides evidence that you have the most energy and concentration early in the morning, after a good night’s rest. Additionally, it means you’ll have more time to study during the day and therefore get more work done. If you continue on this schedule, your body and brain will get used to it and help you in the long run when you need to wake up early for exams or lectures.

5. Find a few friends or colleagues to work with

Revising on your own is a good way to stay concentrated on the work you’re doing. However, when you think you’ve got all the information down in your head, it would be beneficial to get in contact with your coursemates and form a study group. That way you can ask and answer questions and develop your analytical skills that are necessary for tests and coursework. Also, if your friends are motivated to study, you’ll be motivated too and in unison, you can get work done much faster.

study friends

In the end, it all comes down to you. You know better than anyone else what you’re capable of, your study methods, pace and concentration. However, these pieces of advice should push you in the right direction and get you the grades you need and deserve.

A Student’s Guide to Being Productive

Let’s be honest, who wouldn’t love a little longer in bed every morning? The answer to this is pretty much everyone, unless you’re that rare unicorn breed of student who has never even heard of the snooze button. I am the type of person who will get out of bed at the very last possible minute. I might be making myself sound a little lazy here – and yes some days I do eat breakfast in the afternoon – but I prefer to think of myself as just saving energy and time for stuff I really want to do. Because of this, throughout my time at uni, I’ve discovered a few little shortcuts to being a more productive person whilst also still allowing myself plenty of time to eat ice cream whilst watching too many YouTube videos. So, I’m going to share with you the tips and tricks that have helped me make it through the last couple of years.

Essays

giphy1 Don’t be this cat

No matter how much you love your degree, I’m sure we all have times where we’d rather not be doing that essay and be doing something much more fun instead. When I was a first year, I made the mistake of having my fun and then doing my essay the night before it was due. I have learnt from my mistakes and hopefully you can also learn from them. Now I make sure to start my research about a week or two in advance. Once I’ve done all my reading and a little plan, I can whip up an essay in a couple of hours. This might not work for you, depending on how you prefer to work, but for me it means I can get things done quickly. I’ve also learnt that Ctrl+F is my best friend when it comes to searching really long articles for key information. I also do my bibliography as I read so I no longer have the horrible feeling of completing an essay, but still having to reference. I guess the key here is to just plan slightly further in advance. Whilst doing your whole essay in one night might take less time, it definitely makes things a lot more stressful and you’re most likely sacrificing quality too!

Food

giphy I can’t lie, I am partial to a midnight Babybel

I love food. Like really love food. I will eat to procrastinate because yes I do need to a bowl of cereal an hour after eating my dinner. Whilst trying to stop myself doing this takes a bit of willpower, I do try and reward myself. After I’ve finished my reading I’ll have a snack. This gets me to do my work fairly quickly, purely because I’d rather eat delicious food than spend more time staring at a screen. I’m also not a huge fan of cooking, well more so the washing up that comes with the cooking. To minimise the amount of washing up I have to do, I tend to cook things in bulk. It’s a student cliche but pasta dishes are probably the easiest to cook and there’s so much variety. I can cook myself a bolognese that gives me four portions, eat one and then pop the others in the freezer, sorted! Plus there’s an added bonus, whilst you’re cooking your lovely meal you can make a quick sandwich for lunch for the next day. There’s no better way than getting all your food preparation out of the way at once!

Make time for yourself

giphy2 Me on a Sunday

If you’re a busy person like me, you’re going to need some time to relax and just be… well…lazy. The way I try and do this is to keep weekdays for working and studying and then give myself at least a day at the weekend to just do whatever I want. It’s a great way to just forget about uni work for a bit and just enjoy myself. Sometimes I’ll go shopping or I will just have a lie in. No matter how hard you feel like you have to work, taking some time out away from that will allow you to come back with fresh eyes.

I hope you’ve managed to get a bit of advice from how I live my crazy lazy life but for now I have to go and do my washing up (sorry housemates)!

Somehow House Hunting Is Just As Stressful As Exams

January at university is full of stress: January exams, January essays, getting back into January lectures. But worst of all: housing. In December you start making tentative plans about who you want to live with next year, where you want to live, and then in January, everything has changed. Someone has backed out, another person has joined the group, and you still haven’t decided where to live. It all seems very overwhelming; you have to find a house to live in, but you have no idea where to start. But looking for housing shouldn’t be stressful, it should be fun; you’re moving in with your new mates and you get to move out of halls. So here are some things that I’ve learnt when looking for housing.

 

  1. Decide the budget and location early on

Be honest with your housemates. Tell them what you can afford. More than likely they will be very accommodating of your budget as they will have a similar one, and you’ll probably want to go for the cheapest house anyway. Location is also very important. It’s all very good finding the cheapest house ever, but it might also be a forty minute walk away from university. Which is fine in the summer, but in the middle of winter when you have a 9am it’s not going to be fun. Finding a balance between budget and location is key, so that you can have fun with all the money you get to save, and the nice twenty minute walk instead.

giphy3

 

  1. Do not go for the cheapest house

If you love it, and everything is amazing, and the beds are comfy then go for it. But often, if it’s really cheap, then it’s that price for a reason. Unfortunately landlords sometimes take advantage of students’ naivety and they end up with a house that sprouts mould in the winter, or has no insulation. When I was looking for a house with my friends, we didn’t really know what we were doing. Thankfully we ended up with a decent house, but we could have ended up with much worse. Go look at the house multiple times, and if you can get an adult/someone more experienced to come with you, because they’ve probably bought a house and know the warning signs to look for

giphy4

  1. Be honest

Everybody has bad habits, some you can live with, some you can’t. Have an honest discussion with your future housemates about what you expect from the house. What can you live with, and what do you really hate? Your house is going to be smaller than your university halls, so you’re going to see your housemates more often and this may lead to arguments. This is especially true in the winter and you’re fighting over the heating, and how messy the kitchen is. Sit down with your housemates before you move in and have a chat about it. It will definitely be awkward but it will help to avoid some arguments in the future.

giphy5

This will be you and your housemates at some point in second year

 

  1. Be realistic

Your house is not going to be like your house at home. It will probably not look that great. Most people say this about the towers, but those who lived at the towers in their first year (myself included) had a year full of great memories to look back on. This is going to happen in your second year house too. Your furniture won’t be modern, your kitchen can probably fit two people in it, and your bedroom will probably be about the same size. But you’re going to have a lot of memories in it too, so embrace it!

me

 

  1. Don’t Panic

Probably since you’ve come back from the holidays, housing has been the furthest thing from your mind. But now exams are over, and lectures have begun, suddenly everyone is talking about housing and who they want to live with. The biggest rumour that goes around is that by the end of February, all of the good houses will be gone. I worked as an office assistant in SU Home in my second year, and people were still able to find a house in April. So don’t panic, there’s plenty of houses out there, and loads of people to share with!

giphy6

 

 

Happy house hunting!