How I have spent my Christmas at uni

Ahhh, I still remember the day I had to bid farewell my hallmates as they returned home for the Christmas holidays. Back then I was partly happy knowing that I would have the flat all to myself and have all the peace and quiet in the world, but at the same time I knew I would miss the busy atmosphere that once governed the flat. Weirdly enough, staying on campus over Christmas wasn’t as gloomy as I expected it to be. So here are some of the activities that kept me busy over the break and that I fully recommend if you are ever far away from home:

I visited the Colchester Christmas Market

9r-_2gzp37k-mike-arney

Since I have never been to a Christmas Market before, I was curious to find out what it was really like here in the UK and oh boy, the amount of people I found there was ridiculous. I don’t think I have ever seen Colchester that packed! Everyone seemed to be so warm and welcoming. Everywhere you looked, you could see children running around and couples holding hands. Besides that, the Christmas market was as magical as I had imagined: bright lights, great food and loud carols. All of these made the atmosphere unforgettable, and, although I went to it by myself, I can’t say there was a moment when I felt alone.

I attended a Christmas party

dcpnzesy3yk-jennifer-pallian

Who says you need to be home to have a proper Christmas feast? I spent half of Christmas day cooking together with two of my best friends in one of the flats in South towers. The occasional mulled wine and Christmas playlist made us all forget, even though for a short time, how far we actually are from home. We laughed about all the dumb things we did this year and about how they brought us together, we watched cheesy movies and played computer games till the point we could barely stay awake.  I ate an insane amount of food and got the most random presents ever, but if I could go back and do it again I wouldn’t change a thing.

I had the library all to myself

Doing Psychology is not as easy as everyone thinks it is. With one test on the first Tuesday of second term and two more essays in the week that follows, you come to realise that the Christmas holiday is not all fun and games. With the library being pretty much empty for the entire Christmas break, I took advantage of this time to catch up with my notes and finish my assignments. The quiet and calm atmosphere, plus the amount of books available to me, led to me being more productive than I ever thought I’d be (I went through 670 pages of Stats in a week. If that’s not impressive, I don’t know what is!).

Remember everyone, Essex isn’t just for life…it’s for Christmas too!

The 5 weird things you will discover about yourself at Uni

The typical aim for a university student is to become a successful person and eventually achieve professional prosperity and accomplishments. But student life can often feel like the opposite of all of that…it is just pure randomness! Today I will tell you about 5 weird things you come to realise about yourself as a student.

Love for the most unusual things

One thing that a student observes in themselves is the projection of their own affection to a non-being. In other words, and more specifically, you’ll come to love your bed more than any other human being. This love is unconditional, especially before a 9 am lecture.

bed

The ability to procrastinate

There are some things that you’ll feel you need to give all your attention and care. For instance, studying for your exams. When it comes to revision, it has to be a perfect day: not too sunny because you’ll want to go out, and not too rainy, so you don’t just want to hide under your duvet. However, before you can even think about sitting down and, you know, doing some work, you’ll start worrying about all these things that you  just have to get done first. You’ll suddenly feel the urge to clean your entire room, top to bottom. All the things you started previously simply must be finished before you can concentrate e.g. finishing that Netflix series that can’t possibly wait. Finally, when you’re done hiding under your duvet and telling Netflix that yes, you ARE still watching, you’ll decide you absolutely have to have a shower. These showers will be some of the longest of your life, because anything is better than revising right?! You’ll amaze yourself with the bizarre things you end up spending hours doing, just to avoid opening up that first text book. But the truth is, it’s just like ripping off a band aid. Once you start revising, it really isn’t as bad as you think it’s going to be. You chose to study this topic after all, so you’ve got to find it a little bit interesting!

Your desire to plan everything

Procrastination reaches its peak when planning is more time consuming than actually following the plan. As a student you’ll learn to be organised. Students love sticky notes, planners and anything colourful to help remind them of everything they need to get done. It’s not like you can’t remember it anyway, but it looks better on bright colourful paper. Unfortunately, all the sticky notes and highlighted calendars in the world won’t actually do the work for you and there’s only so many times you can say ‘I’ll do it tomorrow’, so your incredible organisation skills will have to be put to one side, while you work on your amazing essay writing skills!

tomorrow

Your cooking skills

If you were thought to be fussy when your mum was cooking for you, well…things change. Only the lucky ones of us never end up burning their food. After countless attempts at cooking fancier meals, you’ll come to realise that as long as the food is edible and there’s no high risk of dying after digesting it, then you can eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. You’ll also discover, after loads of trials and errors, that food actually tastes good when you are the one to make it – and it tastes even better when you are cooking it with a friend.

200_s

Your talent for losing things

The last weird thing you’ll come to realise about yourself is this: you will lose your key card more often than you will to get up for a 9 am lecture. If you live on campus, that key card will make you raise your hands in the air and ask: “Why, dear god? Why?” more times than you will care to mention. Eventually, you’ll accept defeat and give up on even considering looking for it. It’s easier just to get a new one. But if you do ever find yourself locked out then not to worry! You just need to call security or just go to the information centre and get a new key. They will be very happy to come and open the door for you (even if you happen to lose it on a Saturday at 4 in the morning, ahem, not that I would know anything about that).

Secrets of Colchester

Whilst wandering around campus taking in all the activity and random goings-on can make for a perfect day at Uni, eventually you’ll want to escape the “bubble” and have a couple of hours away taking in the sights of somewhere different. Especially if you’ve spent days staring at a blank screen in the library or your bedroom!

So, once you’ve explored the lesser known bits of campus, why not explore the local town? Come as we explore the lesser know (and hopefully) interesting secrets of Colchester:

Hollytrees

Firstly, Colchester is famously England’s oldest recorded town and Britain’s first Roman capital city (but alas, no longer a city in name).

Speaking of the Romans…

Colchester has Britain’s only Roman chariot racing arena (often called the Roman circus) and once had 2 of the 5 Roman theatres that existed in Britain.

What did the Romans ever do for us?

Well, they built a temple in Colchester, the remains of which are underneath the castle- which is the largest Norman keep in Europe. You can also get a student discount to visit the castle!

8486467144_40f3b5110c_o

And what did the Tudors ever do for us?

Layer Marney tower near Colchester is the tallest Tudor gatehouse in the UK.

Something in the water

The great water tower at the top of the High Street was built to provide the town with fresh water. The 1.2 million brick structure was nicknamed “Jumbo” in the 1880’s, after an elephant from London Zoo.

Gotta have faith

During the course of its history, Colchester has had over 13 churches in the town centre area alone. Some no longer exist, but their remnants can be seen (just look for the random graveyards on Eld Lane and Culver Street West!). One church is now the Colchester Arts Centre, another is used a performance and community space and yet another is the Natural History Museum. 8486467742_b44d974b57_o-3

Humpty Dumpty

Allegedly the nursery rhyme “Humpty Dumpty” was about an incident that happened in Colchester during the Civil War in which a cannon (known as Humpty Dumpty) collapsed from the town wall.

Bring on the wall!

The Roman settlement of Colchester was completely surrounded by a wall, of which fractions still exist (that makes parts of it nearly 2000 years old!) You can walk the approx. 2 mile route of the wall around the town.

Hole in the wall

The pub called the Hole in the Wall is so called because the landlord knocked down parts of the wall so that his pub had a good view of the railway line at the bottom of North Hill!

colchester17bigClaim to fame?

The Atik nightclub in the High Street was previously called The Grand Theatre and before that it was called the Hippodrome- a venue in which a young Charlie Chaplin performed.

Also H.G. Wells’ darkly comic novel The History of Mr Polly is apparently inspired by a Mr Polley, who worked as a tailor on St Botolph’s Street.

 

Certainly Colchester is a great place to explore and is somewhere every student or visitor to the University of Essex should visit at least once.

While this is by no means an exhaustive list of what there is to see in Colchester, hopefully it provides enough of an incentive to explore this great town further.

A message to uni applicants: how your life will change over the next year

write-593333_1920I think many people were shocked when Bob Dylan was selected as the Nobel Laureate for Literature, but in one of his most famous songs he writes: “The times they are a-changing.” Never has a truer word been said because over the next year, as a university applicant, your life will be “a-changing”!

Now I am going to brutally honest here: the UCAS application process can be troublesome and when it comes to applying for Student Finance, you have to read everything carefully because it can be hard to change things once its all confirmed. However, by the end of it you will be a whizz at completing paper working and, perhaps, like me you will end up knowing the hold music for Student Finance England by heart (it is awful music!) due to the number of calls I’ve made to them!

But having said that, do not be put off. There is no greater euphoria than finding out that a university has accepted you, because then everything begins to fall in place and your future will seem that bit more exciting and closer. And who would have thought that you would be so excited to go back into education?!giphy1

If you are living on campus or university owned accommodation, you’ll find yourself becoming increasingly independent. Never in my wildest dreams did I expect to be cooking entire meals, budgeting my money (and often failing to successfully do so), and meeting people from all over the UK and the rest of the world. If you are a “home bird”, then be prepared for a shock: you may never want to go home – it does happen sometimes.

In the first term alone I had dressed up as a cow for a social event (complete with a marigold glove as the udder), met royalty and even found a well paid job on campus itself.

Yes there’ll be reading to do, long essays to write and lectures with hundred people in, but isn’t that part of the uni experience? It’s a new environment and a chance to start afresh. Reinvent yourself if you want, become the person that you’ve always wanted to be, perhaps challenge the preconceptions and opinions that you already have – in short you may change as a person and that is not a bad thing, in fact it can be quite opposite.

But no matter what sort of person you are, the best advice is to make the most of it. Sure, you will be caught in a whirlwind of activity, the buzz of meeting new and interesting people and find yourself getting lost, but that does not mean that you can’t enjoy it. You’ll only be a first year once, so seize every opportunity.

I mean you think you’re living a great life now, wait until you begin university!23104179002_dc45e2b77a_z

How Essex are you?

Do you think you know Essex? Can you tell the Hex apart from Happy Days? Blues from Base bar? Well let’s put it to the test to see how much Essex you really are…


1. Who is this little bundle of joy who has over 6,000 likes on their Facebook page?

Campus Cat

 

2. Which local painter famously painted Wivenhoe Park, the location of the now Colchester Campus?

wivenhoe-park-essex-1816.jpg


3. How many years old is the University of Essex?

23863522969_40f183ff41_o


4. Which square is the psychology building on?

440px-Psychology_building,_University_of_Essex,_west_side.jpg


5. Which University is considered to be Essex’s main rivals?

derby day logo

 

6. How many towers were originally meant to be built on the Colchester Campus 

towers accommodation

A) 0-3

B) 4-6

C) More than 10

 

7. What is the University of Essex’s official university motto?

14481281280_e525253d20_o

8. At Essex, we’re proud of being a University which welcomes students from over 100 countries. But what is the percentage between international and domestic students at the University?

12232926_10153208644101517_4290722772011146417_o

 

9. A snakebite is a uniquely popular beverage for students at Essex. How much is a snakebite in the SU bar?

SU-Bar.jpg

 

10. Our Loughton and Southend Campuses are home to which world-leading drama school?

loughton campus.jpg

A)West 16

B) East 15

C) North 17

 

11. What are these things around the Colchester campus? (Clue: there are 18 of them in total)

basket-871276857848l3St.jpg

 

12: Which of these is not a catering outlet on the Colchester Campus?

squares

A) Frango’s

B) Refresh

C) No.66

 

13: In 1970, Essex was the first University to create Nightline. Between which hours every night during term time is the service open to students?

 

nightline.jpeg

14: The Safety bus is a popular and safe way to get home late at night. But how much does a single journey cost?

safety bus.jpg

 

15: Prince Charles once called the Ivor Crewe Lecture Hall ‘a dustbin’. What is the capacity of this shiny silver building?

The_Ivor_Crewe_Lecture_Hall,_from_Library.jpg

 

16: Which collection of art, based at Essex, is the only collection of its type in Europe?

art

 

17: Over the years Essex has been visited by many great bands and music artists including Pink Floyd. However which one of these bands has not played at the University?

pink floyd.jpg

A) The Kinks

B) The Smiths

C) Rolling Stones

 

18: The Albert Sloman Library is home to these unusual looking lifts, which have both puzzled and excited students for decades. What is the correct term for them?

library lift.jpg

 

19: On the Colchester Campus, it’s pretty easy to get lost trying to find your seminar room. So which App do students use to discover a room’s location?

smartphone

 

20: The new home to the Essex Business school was built last year. But what is so special about the building?

essex-business-school-01.jpg

A) The building’s wood was imported from Norway especially for the building

B) It’s the first Zero Carbon Business School in the UK

C) It was designed by a current Essex student

 

ANSWERS

1: Campus cat

2: John Constable

3: 52 years (formed in 1964)

4: Square 1

5: UEA

6: C) More than 10

7: Thought the harder, heart the keener

8: 40% international / 60% domestic

9: £2.80

10:B) East 15

11: Frisbee golf holes

12: C) No. 66 (No.64 is the correct alternative)

13: 10pm-8am

14: £1

15: 1000 people

16: Latin American

17: The Rolling Stones

18: Paternoster lift

19: Find your way

20: B) It’s the first Zero Carbon Business School in the UK

 

So… How did you do?

0-9: Do you even know where Greenstead is? Looks like you’re just a UEA student in disguise…

10-14: Looks like you must be a fresher…. You may know a bit from reading the prospectus from cover to cover but you have a lot to learn yet…

15-20: Your blood must be red and purple because you’re Essex through and through! Celebrate by grabbing a drink in the SU bar or by taking a visit to Blues Bar!

 

 

6 things I did not expect in my second year

We are only in week 5 and I can already feel the big difference between my first year and the second year. I ideally wanted to wait until the end of the year to post this blog, but I personally don’t think that it is going to make any difference.

Here are 6 things that I did not expect in my second year;

  1. CRAZY WORKLOAD!!

Lectures expect you to do the reading before your lectures. I must say that in the first two weeks I did not even open a book. But then I quickly realised that it was very important as the seminars are always based on the readings. As I felt that I was already falling behind, I aim to read before my lectures. This also meant that I went to library almost every day, which I barely did in the first year. 61821302

  1. Friendship

When summer holidays began there are many people who I did not make effort with, and there were many who did not make effort with me. This is when you that they were your ”campus friends.” Many people who I considered as friends in my first year have now become strangers. However, the people who I never spoke to in class last year have now become my friends. This happens with a lot of friendship groups and there is nothing to be sad about, its life and it happens.

  1. Second year counts 

Every work you submit will COUNT! I have become overly conscious of the fact that essays I submit will affect my overall degree grade (no pressure).

  1. Involvement

I found myself to be more involved with activities such as being participating in volunteering projects, blogging for I am Essex, peer mentoring, attending to Learning & Skills training sessions, workshops and events, careers fair.. (HIGHLY RECOMMEND YOU GET INVOLVED)  and doing many campus jobs such as being a Student Ambassador, going to at least one Just Play session a week, Karaoke nights ( when there is time) with my friends. I barely did any of these things as I had other priorities and did not see the importance of participating in all the activities provided by the university and student union, but it is important as it looks good on your CVs.

Doing a lot of activities has also helped me to become more settled at uni, and I find it easier to socialise and engage with other students and staff at the university.

  1. Nights out

Going out has become so boring to me. I used to spend all my money on cab, drinks and entry fees at raves. This has all changed this year, I really don’t mind if I have missed a night out. It has become repetitive for me, as I hear same music and see the same people  and it is very money consuming.  The only night out I make effort in are for my close friends birthdays.

giphy

  1. Saving money 

I use to spend a lot of money last year on campus restaurants such as Fusion, Happy Days and the store. I was not able to save up for stuff I liked and for emergency  expenses. This year I have found a solution for saving money and one of them is meal prepping for the week. Every Sunday, I will spend time cooking for the week and take whatever I have made for lunch.

I  also set up a mini budget for the week. This is only so I can see how much I am spending and what I am spending on. This very important as student loans are not really enough. I also do a lot of bargain shopping, for instance, I go to Aldi for my big shopping instead of Tesco.

savingontextbooks-1-505x215

 

My experience so far in my second year has been very fun as well as a little challenging. But the key motto is to remain calm, stay organised, motivated and just have lots of fun. 

 

Bonfire Night on Campus

Bonfire night on campus was a huge success this year. Despite the rain there was a great turnout! If you don’t know what Bonfire Night is it’s the anniversary of an attempt to blow up the Houses of Parliament, which was led by someone called Guy Fawkes. As a memory of this event we hold firework displays either at home or in a public area, such as a park.

At Essex, bonfire night was a free event that took place on Friday 4th November and was organised by the Student’s Union. The event began at 5pm, where there were stalls on square 5 for clubs and societies who wanted to promote or raise money. I helped to promote the stalls, as I am a Social Media Frontrunner for the university, so this got me even more intrigued to go along and see what was going on!

There were lots of stalls with games to win sweets, for example the Filipino Society had tongue twisters in Filipino and if you said them correctly you would win a sweet. The American Football Club had a game that was £1 for 3 goes, which was to help raise money for their club.

The fireworks began at 8pm and took place by the lake. People stood on the hill by the Ivor Crewe for the best view, but they could also be seen from some towers for those who wanted to stay in the warm! There was a DJ who played music whilst they were being set off. He also played music afterwards, which got a lot of people in the mood to go out that night! The whole event finished at 9pm and people headed home.

It was a great event to go to with your flat mates and especially to show international students what Bonfire Night is like in the UK because some haven’t experienced it before!

If you missed the display, you can watch it below!

Thank you Student’s Union for putting it on! 🙂

My 5 favourite memories from first year

No other year at university is like first year. You don’t know anybody, you are put in halls with random people you’ve never met and yet it becomes one of the best years of your life! I will forever cherish my memories from first year. Here are some of my favourites.

The one with the beer Olympics

One of my flat mates came up with the idea we should have a beer Olympics. The idea was that we were randomly put into groups of 4 and given a country to represent. We would then compete in a number of drinking games and be given scores based on how well we did in the games. My team was Australia and…well…we came last. However it was great fun. As it was the day before my birthday, so when it hit 12am everyone started singing happy birthday. It was a great way to celebrate my 19th!

11401464_10205966480496353_6819866571071519032_n

The one with crab gate

If you don’t know already, every Thursday there is a market on square 3. In the market is a stall that sells seafood, including crabs. So one day my flat mate had this crazy idea that actually he was going to buy a crab. Now if you know anything about cooking crabs, you’d know he’d brought a live crab. I’m not sure what his initial plan was but it became a bit of a pet. He was called Sebastian ( you know…like off little mermaid). It was a great conversation starter “Hey guys Shaun has brought a crab”. No one would believe you at first and then it would be like “Wait there’s a live crab in that box?”. As you would expect Sebastian ended up being cooked, but nevertheless it’s always one of my favourite stories to tell.

 The one with the paint party

paint

As soon as I heard that the university was going to have a paint party I was so excited! I mean how cool does going for a night out getting splashed with paint sound?! I booked the weekend off work for it and my boyfriend came up to come along. The paint party is something I think everyone should experience, but once you have you probably won’t want to experience it again! When the first lot of paint came out everyone ran forward and in all the excitement a group of about 10 of us were all pushed to the floor. I even lost a shoe! But I powered on like a trooper. After the 4th lot of paint I decided it was time to go home. Shoe-less and very colourful I went home, happy to be able to have had my first (and probably last) paint party experience.

The one with the flat awards

So near the end of term, we thought it would be fun to have an awards ceremony. We came up with some topics and everyone secretly voted for who they thought should win each award. There were awards such as ‘Best couple’, ‘Most embarrassing moment’ and ‘The chunder chart award’. I don’t think I won an award which was probably a blessing. Remember to think about what you’re doing on a night out, because you may be nominated for an embarrassing award because of it!

The one where I went to summer ball

If you don’t know what summer ball is yet, it’s the event to celebrate the end of year. There is so much going on from fairground rides, to loads of different music acts, and even a silent disco (so much better than it sounds). It also just so happens that summer ball falls on/around my birthday, so it was my birthday night out. On a night out I’m generally the first one to go to bed, but at Summer ball I didn’t get home till 5am! The sun had started to rise and everything! The food is also amazing…barbecue chicken wrap and Nutella waffle.  Although, I probably regretted the second waffle the next morning. I would really recommend going to summer ball, it is pricey, but I loved every second!

43

 

 

What’s in my backpack? A guide to essentials that students NEED

Hello!

Today I am going to be blogging about what essentials are needed in your bag for every day use around uni. It is very easy to forget something, especially when you wake up 15 minutes before your lecture and are in a rush! Or you may be someone who over packs and brings absolutely everything that you don’t need. Hopefully this list will help you to remember what you absolutely need!

A diary

Without this I would be lost! If you are involved with a lot of things around campus then it is very useful to have a diary. For example, you could have sports training or a game, a society event to attend, work, a volunteering activity, a gym class, or meetings with your tutors or class teachers and this all goes on around your usual university lectures and classes! Therefore, knowing exactly what you are doing every day and at what time is key, so that you don’t miss out on anything.

diary-614149_1280

A notebook

This is always useful to have in your bag. It is essential for lectures and classes to write notes, however if there is also something that you need to remember then a notebook is a great way to write something down quickly.

A pencil case

Having at least a pen in your bag is essential to write notes in lectures and classes. However, if you have some reading to do or highlighting, then different coloured pens and pencils are also useful to have. They make certain points stand out and help you to remember them more. Also, for some subjects you may need a calculator.

Wallet/Purse

Your student card is likely to be kept in here, which is needed to tap in to every class and lecture. Also if you want to buy lunch or dinner on campus then you will need money.

Mobile phone

Most students can’t live without the anyway, so it is most definitely an essential item! If you don’t want to bring your laptop to uni, then it is a good way to look up certain articles quickly on Moodle, as well as using it to contact people and use social media.

iphone-smartphone-apps-apple-inc-40011

A drink

I always keep a bottle of water in my bag to drink throughout the day. It saves me going to the shop and buying one every day, and it reminds me to have a drink whenever I look in my bag so I stay hydrated throughout the day.

Optional items:

  • Glasses – if you wear them.
  • Phone charger – some phones run out of battery a lot faster than others, so you may need to top up your phone charge throughout the day.
  • Snacks/lunch – in case you get hungry or don’t want to buy food on campus.
  • Laptop – if you find it easier to type notes on a laptop.computer-1330162_1280

I hope that this blog helps you to pack your bag for uni and that it is useful as a checklist to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything! 🙂

Black History Month

 “The cost of liberty is less than the price of repression.” – W.E.B. Du Bois

Black History month is sadly coming to an end, but I really wanted to blog about it as it is not known to many people and unfortunately not everyone agrees with this celebration.  I grew up in the Netherlands, where Black History Month is not celebrated; it is very uncommon in many other European countries. So this month at University has been very educational as well as inspirational to me.

14732288_10153959825151517_5894883964334631678_n

Black History Month is a yearly celebration which is mainly prominent in the UK, America and Canada, to celebrate the achievements of influential black people and events in the history of the African diaspora. I personally think this is still very significant today, because despite what people think and expect, this month is not just about the history of slavery. In the Netherlands, the only Black History I was taught was mainly about the AIDS/HIV disease in Africa, the lack of safe drinking water in underdeveloped countries, the importance of fair trade, a brief introduction to who Martin Luther King was and, of course, a little about slavery. To me, it felt like black history was always presented in a negative way and not educational to me. They never taught us about our rich history, that the first light bulb was created by a black man named Lewis Latimer, or that Alexander Miles designed the modern day elevator, or that Sarah Goode (an entrepreneur and inventor) was the first African-American woman to invent a folding cabinet bed which provided people who lived in small spaces to utilize their space efficiently.

I already knew some things about my culture because my Ghanaian parents wanted us to know about our roots. They taught us about the food, the language, and that we export our natural resources such as gold, oil, timber and cocoa to European countries, but that was about it. When my family and I went to visit Ghana in 2007/8  I learned how bad slavery actually was when we visited the Elmina Castle situated in Cape Coast, where our tour guide explained about the history of the castle and slave trade. Many tears were shed on that day, as you could still feel the pain the people went through during that time. If you are thinking about going to Ghana, I really do recommend you to visit ‘Cape Coast Castle.’

castle

I joined my secondary school in the UK roughly during the same time that Black History Month was being celebrated. As this school was predominantly black, they took Black History Month very seriously and organised many things such as plays and assemblies to reflect on the heroes who fought for black rights. We sang songs and donated to black charities and so forth. Compared to the other students there, I felt quite embarrassed about the lack of knowledge I had about black history. During class discussions, many people would voice their opinion and share their knowledge and I remember sitting in the classroom quietly, as I didn’t know that much. But through Black History Month at this new school in the UK, I learned that there was far more than one black hero to look up to and to be proud of, I also became more aware of sickle cell, a condition found mainly in people whose families come from Africa, the Caribbean, the Eastern Mediterranean, and Asia. In Britain sickle cell is most common in people of African and Caribbean descent. This is why celebrating Black History Month is important, because it made me realise that there is so much more to our history and culture. I only wish that the celebration lasted for longer than a month because there is still so much to learn and so much to embrace.  

Not only did I learn a lot about black history in my secondary school, but my interest and knowledge blossomed when I attended to events put together by the Sabbatical Team of the university. Zoe, our SU President, has made this month very special and valuable. I would like to say thank you to Zoe and her team for putting together many activities and events this month. I really hope that the university can help us celebrate not only for a month but throughout the whole year.

This celebration has encouraged me and others to become vocal and aware of oppression, the excellence of black men and women, refugees, supporting black businesses, and  how to face race-related challenges when we face them. Black history month brings back rich black culture that was once lost and forgotten about.There is certainly more room for improvement for Black History Month and I know that this will increase over time if we continue to stay positive, patient, creative and motivated. In using our history, we can find a way to provide solutions to existing problems happening in the modern day. Black history month is necessary. 

I took the opportunity to ask a few students at the university Why black history month is important to them. 

Zoe, SU President
” In life, you go to training, boot camps , conferences to help inspire you and to prepare you for the year ahead. I think that black history month is like a month long conference that inspires us for the year ahead. I use this month as a time to learn something new about our history, celebrate the accomplishments of our history and get excited about the future.
Black history month is important to me because it gives me the boost needed to make sure that black history is celebrated throughout the year. I feel like we need to take responsibility and make sure this month is recognised and is celebrated. But, also use the month to ensure that black history month is embedded into our lifestyle. ”

Nikki – 3rd year, Politics with Human Rights

”Honestly, Black History Month reminds me of my inferiority as an individual on a global scale. In my primary and secondary education, I remember BHM consisted mainly of stories about the slave trade, MLK, Rosa Parks and Malcolm X. It really felt like black people had no identity, history or activity before the colonisation and scramble of Africa. The history books which I digested in my youth told only a single narrative and depicted black people in a way I can only describe as secondary to other cultures around the world. Black History Month is not important but fundamental to me because I am black every single day – being black is part of my identity. I was born black and will have black children and carry on my family’s legacy. Black History Month is more important for the public as people need to recognise us as human beings who are far from the image that is replayed every October through the broken education system which insists on teaching children that black people are slaves.
The public needs an awakening about the stereotype of being black and I hope that in the future Black History Month is a celebration of black excellence and provides a solid historical overview of black history which hasn’t been ‘whitewashed’ or tainted by the hands or minds of colonisers. ”

Emmanuel,  3rd year – Economics and Politics ( Spoken word artist, twitter – @EmmanuelSpeaks_)

”Black History Month is important because it allows us as a generation to look back at what the leaders and role models before us achieved and use it as fuel to achieve bigger and better things for yourself and the future generation.”

Sarah 2nd year, Psychology

“Black History Month is important to me because it is a time that we celebrate our culture and achievements. It is time to understand how powerful and amazing black people are. “

Akwasi, 3rd-year Politics ( President of  Black Social and Political Society )                                ” Black History Month important to me, as it talks about the need to understand our history, achievements and to focus and improve what our role models has done. I will be explaining what Being Black means to me which will hopefully show why Black History Month should be celebrated.

What does it mean to be Black?  James Baldwin quoted that “To be black and conscious in America is to be in a constant state of rage.” This quote is important to me as I see that racism and oppression have affected people of class; colour and gender for many centuries.  Black History Month also highlights why we should embrace and love being black, it reminds us that we are strong, have a rich and diverse culture, have unique and meaningful names like Babe Tunde and Kwame, that we are powerful and so on. Black History Month inspires and empowers me. “