New Year’s Resolutions never work! So why bother?

New-years-Resolutions

 

It’s funny to think we’re coming to the end of 2017! For me this year has been an eventful and rewarding one for a lot of different reasons. My time abroad has been a massive part of that, but a lot of it is down to the goals that I set down at the start of this year…

If you’re ever in the very specific situation of being in Brisbane as a student, be aware that there are hardly any part time jobs! I spent months looking for a way to get some extra cash for my travels with limited success. Strangely enough I ended up working on several what I like to call “Rockstar jobs” whilst I was away. These were one-off jobs where companies just needed people to work for a day or so and that’s it. From supervising a cheese board in a penthouse hotel room, to giving away free frozen desserts, I found myself working at a lot of eventful (and random) places.

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One of the most memorable jobs I had was working for a sales company. The company specialised in face to face sales and I was allocated to work in the car wax department, selling products on petrol garage forecourts. I only ended up being in the job for a few days but I learnt a lot during that time. One of the main things I noticed was how positive and driven everybody was. People would arrive at work early and leave way after they were supposed to. They were all desperate to succeed by learning about how they could improve the following day.

An example of this was when I was in a session of theirs about making goals for next year. I was there around mid-November time 2016 and they were already planning for 2017!

This got me thinking.

Like most other people I made New Year’s resolutions. Something we all do every year as a withering self-promise that we can pick up our act over the next year and make some changes. For me at least, these never seemed to last and most of the time they went back to being idealistic, unresolved ideas within a few weeks.

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I was encouraged by one of my colleagues to not set up any resolutions for next year but make some realistic goals that I could achieve.

Whilst I didn’t achieve many goals involving selling car wax (sorry!), I really latched onto the rest of them. As a result I achieved the majority of the other goals I set. Here are a few highlights…

To act in a theatre production

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When I was studying abroad, my course didn’t involve much practical theatre work. So, I made sure that in 2017 I went for every show that I could.

I ended up acting in a show called “Dream a House”, which took an audience member on a journey through a dreamlike world. As a company, we made the show from scratch and it was an amazing experience.

I got to meet lots of local theatre makers and make some contacts who I’m still in contact with now! There’s constant talk of them reviving the show, but I’m not sure if I can let them seeing as I’m no longer in Australia…

To earn back the money I spent travelling

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Okay so it turns out that living and travelling around the world does cost a lot of money (who knew?!). So much so that at some point I knew that I had to face the music and get some money in. I got a bit of work in Australia, but my big break came when I got home. I got a Frontrunners Plus placement working at the Lakeside Theatre over the summer holidays. Not only was this brilliant to get some experience, but I also worked hard and earned a big chunk of my money back.

To be more fit

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This has always been one of those resolutions that I used to make and never tackle. It’s just always too cold in January to suddenly get up and go for a run…

So, with no running experience before, I impulsively signed up to a 5km fun run. This meant that I actually had to up my game.

I dedicated myself to 9 weeks training which was tough. I would often stalk my fan for 10 minutes when I got home to recover!

It all worked out in the end though as I ended up running the race in a respectable 26 minutes, which for a first timer I’m quite happy with! I would like to say that I’m now a keen runner but I’ve let myself go since I got back to chilly England. Perhaps this should be one of my 2018 goals?!

So on the 31st December this year I encourage you to do the following…

Forget the resolutions that you know you’ll never stick to and pick some things that you actually want to achieve in 2018. Then set them as your goals. It doesn’t matter if you don’t achieve all of them, just have something to work towards. You’ll thank yourself this time next year for it when you see what you’ve achieved!

 

A tour of the food outlets on campus

So it’s your first term at university and you still haven’t eaten a proper meal. You told yourself that you were going to eat healthily and to cook for yourself, except you forgot one thing: you can’t cook and now Dominoes is on speed dial. But really, why go through the trouble of buying and making expensive food when you can find tastier food on campus?! Lets take the scenic route through the food outlets on campus.

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Starting at Square 5, we’ve got the Lakeside Theatre Cafe and the No. 64 Bus. By day, the Lakeside Cafe provides a variety of both hot and cold beverages, sandwiches, pastries and snacks. But by night, when plays are being performed, it is transformed into a bar, serving alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. The Bus is a life-size model of a traditional English double-decker bus that delivers common British breakfast and lunch items, such as pies, hashbrownss, sausages, and (most importantly) cheesey chips from 9am-4pm Mondays to Fridays.

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Photography credit: Print Essex sourced via http://www.printessex.org.uk/case-studies/

In Square 4, there’s Buffalo Joe’s, Fusion Grill and Blues Cafe. Buffalo Joe’s is a fast food restaurant that has chicken, beef and veggie burgers and wraps available from early in the morning till late at night all week (not to mention their AMAZING curly fries). There is indoor and outdoor seating, making it ideal to either eat in or take-away. Fusion Grill excels at creating gourmet burgers, skewers and steaks incorporating Mexican, Brazilian, American, Moroccan, Chinese and Greek cuisine, with similar opening times as Buffalo Joe’s. If you’re ever feeling like you haven’t had enough to eat during the day, Fusion will definitely fill you up. Like Lakeside Theatre Cafe, Blues also serves hot and cold drinks, and snacks. However, it is the proud owner of the largest salad bar on campus, which also includes soups and stews, and fresh carvery sandwiches.

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Photography credit: Pinterest sourced via https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/300544975102601007/

Consequently, we arrive at Square 3, home to the Canteen, SU Bar, Frangos, Zest fresh and the Kitchen. What a mouthful! The Canteen is well-known for offering a wide assortment of English and international dishes from all around the world, each day serving something different. At a good price, you can get a main dish and two sides, as well as a full English breakfast in the morning. Moreover, there is a Curry Club and Fusion Wok in the evenings and a Sunday carvery. The Canteen has got you sorted out for breakfast, lunch and dinner!

The Student Union Bar has a Starbucks branch open in the day, serving tea, coffee and cakes. Until 10pm, the bar also sells your typical pub food, like pizzas, burgers and pasta – all at pretty reasonable prices. At night, the bar has alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages suitable for the events that occur there.

Frangos is a replica of Nandos, except it caters more to students of this university by providing more vegan and halal options. It is popular for its marinated chicken, offered plain or in burgers and wraps. One unique feature that the menu has is the refillable drinks for less than £2.

Zest fresh is a dynamic and creative cafe that, like other cafes, serves hot and cold drinks. It provides a multitude of warm sandwiches and paninis, flatbreads and bagels, and salads. There is a useful set-up in Zest known as the Orangery, that has study pods for student groups who wish to complete their assignments as they grab lunch…or if you want to grab a cake to ease the pain of revision!

For those of you who are always in a rush to get to class or work, the Kitchen provides quick service of hot drinks, warm pastries, and sandwiches. There is also a Mug Wall if you wish to decorate your own mug and leave there for others to be amazed by your artistic abilities..!

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Photography credit: Hamza Kazmi sourced via https://twitter.com/essexsufrangos

Finally, Bonds is a cafe located in the Essex Business School (EBS) and serves to provide bagels and smoothies for breakfast, and hot lunchboxes and salad boxes for lunch. Personally I’d recommend their toasted pitta bread with humous, it’s delicious! Bonds is perfect for those studying in this beautifully designed building as it is quite far from central campus food outlets.

All in all, the university has quite a lot on its plate, serving well-priced and nutritious breakfast, lunch and dinner items. I understand this information may take a while to digest but I hope this review was helpful – happy eating!

 

A ‘Pointless’ Trip to London

I don’t think many people would disagree with me when I say that students love a good TV quiz show; The Chase, University Challenge, Tipping Point, and even Only Connect for the real boffins out there. And then there’s Pointless. If you haven’t seen Pointless here’s a quick rundown of what it’s all about: the goal is for contestants to score no points at all by giving really obscure answers to questions like “countries beginning with E”. The contestants with the lowest scores progress to the next round and to win the jackpot they must give a pointless answer (an answer that no one in the audience had already guessed). It’s hosted by comedian Alexander Armstrong and TV presenter Richard Osman.

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Photography credit: Hannah Ewens sourced via https://www.vice.com/en_uk/article/aev55z/id-never-watched-the-tv-show-pointless-went-on-it-and-won

If you’re wondering why I’m telling you about this, here’s why! One of my friends recently applied for tickets to go and see Pointless being filmed live and was lucky enough to be chosen. Myself and four of my friends took advantage of this to take a trip down to London for the day. As a side note, one of the best things about Essex is how easy it is to get out of it – I mean that in the nicest way possible of course! The tickets to the filming were free, so it’s a pretty cheap day out if you only buy a train ticket and some food!

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Filming was taking place at the famous BBC Television Centre. We made our way there in good time to make sure that we’d definitely get seats, as even though we’d been given tickets you aren’t guaranteed to get in. The queue was pretty small when we arrived so we headed over to the nearby shopping centre to grab some food before the show. Five Guys was calling our name, their burgers and chips (or fries as they call them) are delicious. There’s a Five Guys opening in Colchester soon which is v.exciting!

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Group photo in Five Guys ft. two guys from Five Guys

Anyway, we went back to queue and soon after we headed straight into the studio. Unfortunately, you weren’t allowed to take pictures and even my sneaky attempt to do so got caught out! We had a great time playing along amongst ourselves in the audience, turns out if we actually were contestants we would have won! We saw two tapings of Pointless being filmed and although there was some waiting around in between it didn’t ruin the fun of the day at all!

Going to watch TV shows being filmed is a really great day out and I’d definitely recommend it. I’ve also been to see the Top of the Pops Christmas special being filmed and got to see some great artists, it’s also where I was within a metre of Nick Jonas! If you fancy applying for some TV tickets then all it takes is a google search and there’s plenty of shows you can apply for. London is so easy to get from here it’s definitely worth doing!

Is it Possible to Study and Still Have a Social Life?

The answer is of course, yes.

We’re in the last three weeks of uni, there’s officially less than a month until Christmas and deadlines are looming…It’s now that part of university where you have to actually attend lectures and start writing essays instead of hitting the snooze button and hanging out with your friends. The first term of university always feels really odd, when term starts December seems far, far away. You want to get to know your new flatmates rather than sit down and work. Now, you might have had a few late nights this term and you’re thinking about how to avoid panicking next term when your next deadline comes. So, here’s a few tips on how to have both a social life and get good results.

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To Do List

Invest in post it notes! Honestly, these saved my life in third year. I have so many deadlines for all my different modules, and for my RA job that it can be a bit overwhelming until I write it down. Once I have a list written down rather than just an idea in my head then it feels manageable. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed at university when you have something due every week. And even if I only manage to cross off only half of my list, I still feel really accomplished.

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Find Your Space

Everyone has a spot on campus where they can be super productive. Some need the total silence of the library, while others need some background noise to focus. Personally, I need some background noise so I always like going to the student centre. Some people I know can work in the SU bar and like being able to get food and drinks while they’re working, and others like to stay in their room. Everybody has a certain space on campus that works for them, you just have to find it.

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Learn To Say No

Sometimes you just have to say no to your friends who are begging you to come out one last time before a deadline. You know and they know that you’re going to end up sleeping in the next day and not doing any work because you have a hangover (at least that’s what happens to me when I go out…) If you can work through your hangover, that’s great (also please let me know your secret?!), but some of us can’t and sometimes you need to say no to your friends and do the annoying thing of staying in and doing work. You’ll have serious FOMO but once you’ve finished it, you can go out as much as you like

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Alarms Are Your Friend (No, Really They Are)

Do you ever look back and wonder how you used to get at 7am for school when now it’s almost impossible to get up for your 9am lecture? I know I do. But if you find a time that feels like enough of a lie in, but still early during the day (personally, I like 9:30), then you’ll find your day is so much easier. If you find yourself waking up at noon everyday you’re going to find it much harder to fit in enough time for your uni life and your social life. Even if the idea of waking up at 9am is too much, set your alarm an hour earlier than normal and see how much work you get done and still get to hang out with your friends

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Speak Up

If you’re really struggling to balance your work and your social life and find yourself getting really overwhelmed at university, speak to someone. Even if it’s just a friend, they may be struggling in the same way. Your personal tutor is also there to give you advice and help you if you’re struggling, and Student Services are also on hand. You are not the first student to need help, and you won’t be the last. It’s very common for first years to end up at university and get really involved with things on campus and then forget that they actually have to study!

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Good luck!

 

Feeling overwhelmed?

Do you know the feeling of being stressed by essays, tests, presentations, work and volunteering commitments…You’re trying to pass everything well and still want to be involved in activities that matter to you, but it’s getting a bit too much. You just want to stop the time to get good sleep, watch all episodes of Friends, and then make the world spin round again. Sounds any familiar? If so, then you’re not alone in this. But there are a few ways to deal with it.

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Define the problem.

Do you have too many responsibilities? Is there any particular lecture that is difficult or any academic skill you need to improve? Do you struggle with managing your time or planning your work? Whatever it is, it has a solution, as long as you can define the problem. Just ask yourself a question what makes you feel like this and what can be done about it. If you think you can’t solve it yourself, maybe if would be easier after talking to your friend, lecturer, course director, Student Support or Talent Development Center. There are plenty of people willing to help you, but you need to let them know that you struggle.

 

See the good side.

Sometimes, it’s the attitude that’s the problem. Maybe it’s not meant to be easy – maybe that’s the whole point. When you work out to strengthen your muscles, run faster, climb higher… It requires effort and commitment, and your body is likely to be sore. This is how you know that it’s actually working and that you are improving.

It’s important to remember why you’re here. Most likely, you want to learn about something that interests you. You probably have a goal to achieve. To achieve this goal, you have to come out of your comfort zone. It might be hard sometimes, but that’s good, because this is how we learn.

It’s only up to you what you will make out of it. You can appreciate the amazing opportunity you have to learn and improve, or you can complain about it being difficult. The choice is yours.

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Look after your body.

Sometimes we think we’re some kind of super-humans who can survive on Red Bull, frozen pizzas and 4 hours of sleep. It’s strange that we understand that cars need the right petrol and certain maintenance to run properly, but we tend to forget that it applies to our bodies too. Drinking plenty of water, eating well, and getting enough sleep is so important, especially when you need to work at full speed. If you have heard it from your mom before, it’s because it’s true! 🙂

 

Prioritize ‘’ME TIME’’.

This is so crucial for everyone’s well-being. You are busy and you have the whole list of important things to do, but these things are not more important than YOU. Do something that makes you happy every day, even if it’s only a few minutes. Dance, sing, play an instrument, draw, go for a walk, meditate… Do whatever charges you with good energy.

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Don’t be harsh on yourself.

If something didn’t go as you planned, don’t punish yourself with negative thoughts. It’s OK. It’s just a part of the learning process. Just acknowledge it and move on. How many times did you fall off your bike before you’ve mastered riding it?

I hope you don’t get overwhelmed and that you stay faaaar away from the negative bubble! Life at Uni might become hard if you take up too much work and try to make everything perfect. I think the most important is to be kind to yourself and accept that you really don’t need to be perfect. Just love yourself, think positively and don’t hesitate to reach out for help if it’s needed! I’m sending you all a virtual hug and wish you a healthy end-of-term revision!

 

Freshers’ mistakes to avoid

The first month of freshers’ madness is over and I hope it’s been a great time for all of you. Now, some serious stuff begins.

Essays, tests, presentations, nights spent in the library, litres of coffee… nah, it’s not that bad really 🙂  I hope you’ll have an amazing year filled with great experiences, so to make a bit easier in the academic aspect, I’d like to share with you some tips I wish someone had given me at the very beginning of my journey. Hopefully some of you will find it useful!

Here are a few things to AVOID:

Not knowing what and when you have to do assignments

I know that students’ budget might be restrictive, but getting a year planner is a great investment, trust me. You can also get creative and make one yourself. Whichever way you find to organize your work, it’s important that you know your deadlines, so when you see that you have to hand in four essays in the same week, you can do something to avoid being unprepared.

 

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Pulling all-nighters all the time

Your hands are shaking from too much Redbull and the letters on the screen are getting blurry. You have two hours to finish before the deadline, you’ve only covered half of the material and with rising despair you’re asking why you did this to yourself. Again.

Some people say they prefer to work under pressure, because they suddenly become super-productive. I personally feel enough pressure having to deliver a good piece of writing and don’t need an extra thrill of the ticking clock. But I’m sure you’ll find that out for yourself!

 

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Thinking you’re all alone

As a student whose first language is not English, I had a hard time following two hour lectures filled with words I didn’t know and reading academic texts. I didn’t want to ask any questions after class because I didn’t want to look silly, in case I missed something that had been said.

The important thing to remember is, we would not be at the University if we already knew everything. It’s always good to ask your lecturer and it’s OK not to know things, repeat the question and admit that you struggle if you need to. The lecturers are here to help us improve; they don’t expect us to know everything. Don’t let your doubts accumulate, because if you don’t know what your classes are about for a few months, you will have to find it all out in one go. Whatever your work-under-pressure-master technique is, don’t do that.

If you need help with English, writing your essay, finding resources, referencing, effective reading, or anything else, it’s really worth to book a session at the Talent Development Centre. There is plenty of assistance offered to you, as long as you reach out for it.

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Not answering the essay question

It might seem obvious but I still did it. I heard the lecturer say ”in your first essay you will have to explain what management is”…and that was it for me. I spent an entire week reading and writing, I put so much effort into my first academic essay and submitted it with pride.  When I got it back with a big D-,  for a moment I questioned all my abilities. After reading the feedback I knew that next time I’d need to go on Moodle and see the full assignment description and points to include. Oh well.

 

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Thinking that the first year doesn’t count

Technically it doesn’t. But what you didn’t do in the first year, you might have to catch up with later, and that’s not always fun. You have time to get used to things and find your way to go about it, without unnecessary pressure, but don’t just shrug it off. There are also other benefits you might not think of at first, for example summer schools, internships or Study Abroad Programs, which might take into account grades from your first year.

 

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Procrastinating too much

I think in the first year I spent more time thinking about how much work I had to do instead of actually doing it. You don’t need to torture yourself. Set some time when you study and don’t do anything else, no Game of Thrones in the background, no Facebook open, no distractions. Just get it DONE! And have more time for fun things afterwards. It’s always difficult to start, but then you’ll find your way.

 

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I hope you enjoy your time at Essex and avoid all of the mistakes above! Good luck everyone 🙂

 

 

Ways to learn a new language at Essex

If learning a new language has been  sitting on your list of things to do, right next to ‘get fitter’ and ‘eat healthier’, you’re not the only one. It’s one of those things that’s always in the back of your mind; you know it would be worth doing because it gives such an edge when it comes to applying for jobs, but you just never seem to get around to it. Well, I have a great news for you. Being an Essex student, there has never been a better time to learn a new language and there are so many ways you can go about it.

Choose a language degree

The university offers great courses in languages. For those who take the Intensive Initial programme on their first year, the university might also cover the fees of the summer school abroad. I was lucky to go to International House in Valencia after my first year and came back being near to fluent in Spanish… and with a pretty nice tan!

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Combined degrees / optional modules

A Language Degree might not be your thing, but Essex offers a whole lot of combined degrees, such as Business Management and Modern Languages, International Relations and Modern Languages, Art History with a Modern Language, and so on. Many degrees have optional modules, and you might be able to choose a language and get credits for it, so no more excuses 🙂

 

Year Abroad

Yes! Essex has an impressive list of study/work abroad options! Even if you don’t speak the language of the country you would like to go to, you don’t need to worry; many universities offer modules in English. You can practice the language, get to know the culture and experience life in a different place. I went to Mexico for my year abroad and it was definitely a life-changing experience. I did some fascinating courses that are not as easily accessible at Essex, such as Mayan Language and Mayan Epigraphy. I also got addicted to habanero chilli, learned to dance Cumbia, met so many people with  different views and helped me reflect on everything I thought I knew about the world. I spent some time in the desert too, hiked beautiful mountains and swam in turquoise thermal waters. Every country you choose might open a whole new world for you.

 

Languages for All

This is another opportunity you can’t miss! LFA is a study option that you can take as evening language classes alongside your degree. There’s no  additional cost to take these classes for a year, so it’s definitely worth it! You can study Arabic, French, German, Japanese, Mandarin Chinese, Russian, or Spanish. You will have set times for classes and a tutor, so no more pushing it to another day 🙂 ! I did Russian in my first year and I enjoyed it so much that I continued in the second year, in spite of a fee. I think it’s totally worth it!

LfA will give you skills, satisfaction, certificate of completion of the course and credits towards your Big Essex Award, but it is worth noting that you will not get the academic credits for it. If you do need a course which will give you academic credits, check out the Essex Modern Language Certificate.

Language Cafés

If you don’t want to commit to regular classes, find out about Language Cafés in the Language and Linguistics Department! I attended the Russian and Spanish Cafés in previous years and I think it is a really pleasant way of learning! The sessions are led by current students (native speakers of the taught language), who organise games, conversational classes and resolve any language mysteries students struggle with, over some coffee and cookies.

Societies

Essex is such a multicultural university! Being here, you don’t need to travel to the other side of the world to be able to socialize with native speakers. You can get to know people from the country of your interest or people just like you, who want to learn about it. All you need to do is just go out there and make some friends! There are French societies, as well Bulgarian, Chinese, Nordic, Japanese, and many more! Some of them organise language classes, but there is also so much more to it! Go to Modern Languages Movie Nights, practice Spanish small-talk, get to know Japanese music, just surround yourself with it and have fun!

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Whatever works for you, just do it! This is the right time!

 

 

 

Long distance friendships and relationships

Coming to university, moving away from your loved ones, and starting this whole scary ‘long distance’ thing might be the worst nightmare for many students. It was scary for me too, but now I actually think it’s a blessing.

I left my home country a while ago, leaving all my friends behind. For the past seven years I lived in quite a few countries and, as a fairly sociable human being, I found a lovely bunch of friends in each of them and fell in love a few times. And just at the moment I would start to call that place ‘home’, it was time to make a move again… even though it was always painful (actually I don’t think I ever managed to leave without crying a river!) I learned to appreciate every different place for their own special reasons.

When I was moving around, for the first few times I was convinced I would keep in touch with all my friends and only a thought of a different scenario would make my eyes water. The truth is that it’s not always like that. You will have your life here and they will have their life there. You can drop a message sometimes, but it’s difficult to be present in everybody’s life constantly, unless you want to spend your life on Skype. The good thing about it is that it will let you identify people who really care about how you’re doing and who always will be there for you, in spite of the distance and the time passing by.

Even if it sounds harsh, I believe the same goes for amorous relationships. Sometimes being around one another constantly doesn’t give you any space to reflect upon your relationship. After moving away for a while, you will be able to look at everything from a distance and decide if it’s really right for you.

A while ago I moved to another country (again), and my boyfriend-at-the-time stayed in the country I left. We were both so in love, so of course we tried to keep it going. After I moved away, I realised that I was actually happier by myself, doing what was making ME happy and that this relationship was keeping me in stagnation, without me even realising it. I didn’t just give up, I tried to find a solution, but after a while I came to the conclusion that this was an ultimatum: my personal growth or that relationship. It sounds like the worst scenario, and I don’t wish it to happen to any of you, but I think for me I made the best decision. I looked at my relationship from a different perspective and I noticed that it just wasn’t what I wanted.

I don’t mean to scare you. It doesn’t mean that after coming to uni your relationships will fall apart. Actually, I’ve been in (another) long distance relationship for a while now and seriously, I couldn’t be happier. Ironically, the distance makes us feel even closer because now we make time for good conversations. I don’t want to sound like a relationship pro either, of course everyone is different, but just know that it doesn’t have to be a bad thing to be away from one another and if it doesn’t work, it’s for a reason.

It’s a win-win situation!

Long distance friendships and relationships at uni might be the first ‘trial’ for you and I think it will benefit you either way. If things don’t go so well and you happen to break up or stop being friends – that’s ok, honestly! It might be difficult to accept at the time, but maybe there’s some truth in the saying that everything happens for a reason. My very wise friend used to say: ”It’s always good when it’s good”. It’s so true. It’s only when obstacles such as being long distance appear that you find out if you really are meant to bein each other’s lives. And  if it does work out, that’s amazing! You guys will have a solid base to build something very valuable.

Good luck to all those who are about to embark on a new adventure, moving cities or even countries, I hope you to keep your precious friendships and establish new ones! For those who come in a ‘relationship status’, stay positive! There are so many ways to pamper your Very Special Person from far away, but that’s a topic for another post. 🙂

What to expect from the Welcome Week

I am sure you are very excited about coming here to our amazing uni…and possibly a little nervous too! So I am now going to be the helpful chap I always am and brief you about the Welcome Week!

Moving In

Ufff…this part is…I am not even going to lie to you, it was tiring! I had a lot of luggage with me, so just bringing it with me everywhere was a pain. My hands hurt, my feet hurt, I was tired from the flight. Fortunately, the University is trying to make this as easy for us as possible, by placing ambassadors and Resident Assistants everywhere, so they can direct you to the right place if you are lost.

Introductions

The number one thing to expect from the Welcome Week is…well, welcomes. From your department, your personal tutor, peer mentor, to your RA, all will be welcoming you to our university and making sure you are doing ok. They will be explaining to you what help they can offer, should the need arise and you can always turn to them for advice

Fresher’s Fair

The most anticipated event of the Welcome Week is the Fresher’s Fair. It is always held on the Squares…yes, squares…like all the 5 squares because it is a huge event! There, you will get to know a lot of people, all the societies will have stalls, and all the sports teams too, you will find everyone there, from the VTeam to Nightline – LITERALLY everyone. The whole event is just so much fun and you get to sign up to any societies or sports club that you are interested in.

 

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People

As mentioned before, you will meet a lot of people. LIKE A LOT OF THEM. Your flatmates and course mates. Also, if you decide to step out and have yourself a club night, Sub 0 and Base are always full, so be prepared for instant besties (who are actually the best), because that is what is going to happen. And if you are not the kind to go clubbing, no worries! Going to SU Bar, or just sitting on one of the squares during fresher’s week kind of guarantees you friends, since everyone is very talkative and open to meet new people.

I hope I eased your anxiety about the Fresher’s week because even though it starts out kind of rough with the moving in, it is the most amazing thing ever that you will probably never forget. If you are still nervous about it just remember that probably all the other freshers are in the same boat as you. See you all there!

Your first instalment of student loan: what to do and what not to do

There are numerous exciting moments when starting university: moving in day, first classes, and meeting new people. But perhaps receiving that first instalment of your student loan (and arguably every subsequent instalment) is THE most exciting moment there is.

However with the great first instalment comes great responsibilities, so here are the essential do’s and don’ts that you should know:

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DO budget: as boring as it sounds you need to make your money last for the entire term and if you don’t have a part-time job then this is probably the source of funds to pay for those important things. Remember this money is going towards your accommodation, food, books, stationery and socialising- so take that into account.

DON’T spend it all in the first week: Rule number one! Never, ever, ever spend the entire instalment in the first week, not matter how tempting it may be.

DO consider part-time work if you think you need more money: Sometimes the student loan just isn’t going to reach the entire term, so consider supplementing it with part-time work- you’ll find tons of opportunities both on campus and in nearby Colchester.

DON’T worry about tuition fees: The whole tuition fee thing can seem daunting, but don’t worry your first instalment of your student loan does not go towards it- this is handled separately between the university and the student loans company.

DO learn about food: Gone are the days of eating nothing but baked beans and pot noodle as a student. You can now buy good food quick cheaply, so you can eat and live well on a budget. Try shopping around and don’t rely too must on takeaways.

DON’T give into temptation: With the prospect of thousands of pounds at your disposal it is easy to get tempted by pricey clothes, jewellery, technology and the rest- but don’t do it at the risk of leaving yourself short at the end of term.

 

Good luck and happy spending (or saving!)