Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Uni Tips - How not to act on 'Moving in Weekend'

September is finally here - hurray! Am so ready for not feeling guilty for not going out in the sun and wearing boots and scarves and drinking lots of hot chocolate. I am also definitely feeling the back to school vibe even though I still have 3 weeks until I go back to university.

Instead of doing a university tips post on moving in weekend, I thought it would be best, and possibly a little more interesting, to share my university moving in experience from last year. Hopefully, it will give you a little bit of an idea of what NOT to do if you are moving to university this year! But I must warn you.. it's a long one. So relax, and grab a cuppa.

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Everything was packed in the car by about 8.30. The car was full and I just had enough room to squeeze myself in with the rest of my stuff. I lived about 3 hours away from my university so we set off at about 9. At this point, I thought I was feeling calm and collected... how wrong I was. 

We got to a service station and had some lunch. We were due to arrive at about 1ish, which at the time, I wasn't happy with. I was worried that I would get there too late to do everything that I wanted to and that I wouldn't meet any of my flatmates in time. 
Lesson 1 - don't stress out, everything will be done! 

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So we arrived. We were placed in a car park possibly the furthest away from my accommodation. So I picked up my keys and went back to the car to start taking my dozens of boxes into my room. This was exhausting in itself. I opened up the door to my room and instantly was disappointed. My room was tiny, not what the pictures online looked like at all. Again, I put on a brave face. To make matters worse, the building and my room were absolutely boiling, and I do not cope well with heat! 

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The next thing on my list was to go and pick up my student card. I thought I was so prepared, but when we got there and was asked for some paperwork, I realised that I didn't have my enrolment certificate. I literally went into meltdown mode. I wanted to cry. I made such a fuss and was frustrated and my parents had no idea what to do as I stood in tears in front of a room full of parents and other new students. However, it turned out I didn't really need it and picked up my student card anyway. What also panicked me was that everyone else looked like they knew exactly what they were doing, and I didn't. Plus, they all looked so much older than me! 
Lesson 2 - Other people really don't know what they are doing! 

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Okay, so to make matters worse, there were tickets being sold for the nightclub event for that night. Because I was freaking out, they sold out, and I was so worried that everyone in my flat would have already bought a ticket and would go without me. I didn't need to freak out because this didn't happen. We all bought tickets on the night and got in anyway. 

Next, we went to the nearest tesco and bought some food. I spent the whole time freaking out that everyone in my flat would be meeting eachother and I wouldn't be there. I ended up not getting half of the stuff I wanted to and felt really panicky because there was so many people. 
Lesson 3 - Get your parents to get you the essentials as well as a few meals. It is so useful!

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We finally made it back and by this time I was a complete mess, as was my mum who, she told me this a few weeks later, wanted to take me back home. At this point, my flatmates, who I couldn't thank them enough for doing, asked me whether I wanted to go around the building and meet some other people, which my mum pushed me to go and this gave them the opportunity to leave. I then cried... not a good start. 

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So, if you have made it to the end of this very long post, well done! If you haven't... well you will never know how the story ended. Basically I went out that evening with my new friends, ended up coming home early because we didn't want to stay, and drunk hot chocolate in our pyjamas until the early hours of the morning. - so all worked out well in the end. 

Hopefully, this will give you some idea of what not to do on your first weekend at university. It is a stressful time, and it is not a weekend that I ever want to experience again, but once you get over the hurdle, things get a lot better! Just keep calm! 

Please don't tell me that I was on the only one who had a stressful moving in weekend?! 


xxxx







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Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Uni Tips - How to Budget Like a Boss


Keeping track of your money is vital for university. Student Finance is a pain in the bum, and getting too much into your overdraft is not ideal. So here are some of my tips on how to budget your money and spend a bit less

1. Work out how much money you will have per week 
Once you have your letters from student finance, take off your accommodation and that is how much you will have to spend that term. Divide it by however many weeks until your next loan and tadaa! Remember to take off any other monthly expenditure such as phone contracts, netflix etc. Also, remember to save some money for the time that you are at home as well!

2. Use cash instead of card
If you are serious about sticking to your budget, get out the cash for the week rather than using your card. You know then that you can't spend any more than your weekly budget. This is also important when on a night out. I often don't take my debit card with me so that I don't spend a lot of money!

3. Keep tabs on what you are spending money on
If you do use your card, write down what you spend on food/going out/online shopping - this is not only useful for looking at how much you are spending, but you can also make sure that nothing fishy is going out of your account.

4. Save your change
Saving your £1/50p/20p to pay for washing machines and bus fares etc can all add up if you save a bit every time you get some change.

5. You may have to make some sacrifices 
You will not be able to afford to do your food shopping at Marks and Spencers or constantly go clothes shopping. Just be cautious and don't go crazy.

6. Save Save Save
Don't spend all your money for one week? Don't spend it, save it!

7. Get an NUS Extra card
I think that they save a lot of money. I bought a 3 year one so that I wouldn't have to remember to renew it. Although your normal student card will offer you some discount, you can often get extra discount with the NUS extra card

8. 16-25 Railcard 
One of these is also a must! You can save a third off rail travel, vital for going home or visiting friends. Santander give a 4 year one away for free when you sign up to their student accounts.

9. Don't let it stress you out
If you are having problems with money, the student union can give you advice. It is just about having a bit of restraint and being responsible. There is no point using all your money in Freshers Week and not being able to eat, but don't feel bad if you don't stick to your budget for one week, just save some money the next.

Hopefully this will be useful!
University is getting close now for many - I don't start until the 29th of September which is really late. 


xxxx


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Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Uni Tips - Living in Halls

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Living in university halls of residences was something that I never prepared myself for. The accommodation that I was put in had 19 of us on one floor with shared kitchen and bathroom facilities. It doesn't sound very glamorous does it? Luckily, I got on really well with the majority of my flatmates this year, but here are some tips and tricks on living in halls.

1. Set up a facebook group
If you live with a lot of people, or just a few, set up a flat/floor facebook group. It's a good way to communicate about problems throughout the year and also through holidays as well to keep in touch

2. Set up rules early on
I am not talking about written down rules, but things such as 'you can use my kitchen things if you put it back' etc. Setting these up early will make it a lot more easier. Also sorting out cupboard/fridge space early is also a must. 

3. Keep Communal spaces tidy
This goes without saying... *cough* although some people will not follow this! Clean up after yourself whether this is in the kitchen area or bathrooms. It really isn't nice when it is dirty!

4. Noise
If you live with a lot of people, it will be very noisy, with different people coming in and out. This is what I found quite hard at the beginning. Earplugs are great, and don't be afraid to ask people to be quiet. A good nights sleep is crucial!

5. Try not to fall out with one another
If there is a problem, take it up individually and nicely. I couldn't imagine what my first year would have been like if I hadn't got on with some of my flat mates. It can make the atmosphere tense not only for you, but for the rest of your flatmates. 

6. Quiet time
What I found the hardest about living in halls was the constant amount of people. I felt like I didn't have any time to myself - I couldn't watch some tv or a DVD without someone knocking on my door wanting to join. It can be very hard for an introvert like myself. So remember to have some time to yourself! 

Living in halls can be challenging, with fall outs, breakups and misunderstandings. However, this is a new time for you all, so the best thing is to support each other. And of course have fun! I regard most of my flatmates from last year as really good friends. It's like having your own family away from home. 

Check out more of my Student Advice posts HERE 

xxxx
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Saturday, 16 August 2014

How to have fun clubbing when sober

This may seem a slightly weird blog post, but over my first year of university, I have had some great nights out, as well as some truly awful ones. I enjoy a drink, but don't like being completely out of it when I am out clubbing - I like to remember what happened in the morning. And sometimes, I don't drink at all.

So.. I am writing this to debunk the common myth that you can only have fun when alcohol is involved.


1. Positive thinking
Don't go into the evening thinking that it is going to be awful because (a) all your friends are drinking and you aren't (b) you are going to be the odd one out etc etc. Go in thinking that you are going to have a good night with your friends. 

2. Getting ready 
Be geared out to go out! Get involved with getting ready with a group of friends. Or if you are by yourself, get dressed up, put your favourite music on and jam out. Get your mind into the partying spirit

3. Have a drink in your hand
This is mainly one for pre-drinks (especially at university). Don't awkwardly stand there. Join in, take your own soft drink and keep it with you, talk to people and get involved. 

4. Stay with your friends
Whilst this may seem a little clingy, don't let them out of your sight. Stick with them. If they are your true friends they will stay with you for the night and not leave you by yourself. There is nothing worse than that. 

5. Boogie! 
Dance, have fun. Even copy what some of your friends are doing. If you are dancing or singing along then it will be a lot more fun

6. Don't constantly look at the time

7. Suggest to be the designated photo taker
Great if it is a friends birthday. Take a camera or use your phone and take photos of the night. Then you can be in the action and with your friends

8. And if it all goes wrong... Make sure you have enough money to get a taxi home and chalk it up to experience. 

If you don't drink, or choose not to on a night out, it does not mean that you can't have fun! Plus it is hilarious to update your friends the next day of the funny things that you saw them do

On a sidenote, thank you to everyone who is following me on bloglovin'. I hit 100 followers last night and am so grateful, so thank you so much! 

xxxx
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