Monday, 28 March 2016

The Highs and Lows of University

It's so scary that I'll be graduating soon. It looks as though my last exam is on the 1st June. I'll then have a month and a half until my graduation on the 22nd July - how crazy! I can't believe that this time three years ago, I was revising for my A-Level exams to get into university and now I am almost finished.

I was contacted by Student Hut to do a little colab with them on the highs and lows of University. If you're looking for a university or course, they have loads of reviews for current students, perfect for anyone wanting to go to University or who are off in September!

Although I have said some of the things that I'll miss about uni in a previous blog post, there are still so many highs of university life!

- Moving away from home
I truly believe it was the best thing that I have done in my life so far to move away from home for University. I am at a university about 3 hours away in a place that I had never been before, which sounds daunting, but is amazing. I've become more independent and confident, so much so that I find being at home too suffocating!

- Meeting best friends
It's true what they say, you meet people that are so much like you at university. I've found that my friends that I have made at uni are now closer to me than the ones I had at school. You'll find people with the same interests, hobbies, work ethic as you. And, unlike school, there are so many people to choose from!

- Joining a society
I cannot stress enough that societies are what makes university experiences. You don't remember those days in the library that you had stressing over your degree. You remember the trips, the activities, the tours, the memories with a society. Whether you're into sport, crafts, performance, technology, there is a society for you filled with people who are thinking the same. It's a great way to meet people in other year groups.

- Freedom!
Unlike school and home, you have the freedom. You can buy what you want, do what you want (within reason obviously!). You can go to the shops in your pyjamas! You can hop on a train and go exploring for a day. The possibilities are endless.

- Student Discount
I never want to have to pay full price for anything again, that's until my NUS Extra card runs out in October *sobs*

- Living in Halls
Although I loved the majority of my flatmates, I hated living in halls. Working and sleeping in the same dingy room was confining and depressing. There was never silence, never a time to yourself and it all just comes a bit too much sometimes.

- Student Accommodation.
You've made it out of halls... oh wait, you're now in the world of private landlords and estate agents charging you extortionate amounts for old, cold, damp and moldy houses and flats. Just because you're a student, doesn't mean you can live in inadequate conditions and be played by money hungry landlords! (Luckily my landlord this year is great. We got a new cooker the other day because the door wouldn't shut and it's wonderful).

- If you're not loving your degree...
I'll put my hands up and say that I don't wholly love my degree. I've written about it here before, but it all becomes a bit too much when you actually have to do work! I know that's what you're there for, but it makes it worse when you're not as passionate about it any more.

- Money
The whole student loans system just sucks. End of.

Do you agree with any of these?


Thursday, 24 March 2016

Mental Health in Exam period | University

If you're doing GCSEs, A-Levels or studying at university, you'l know that the Easter holidays is never a break. Exams and deadlines are looming, and your mental health can start to suffer. I know that my anxiety increases when I get nervous or stressed, and especially as I am in my final year, I am worried about how it is going to affect me. So here are some tips that I'm going to use, and I hope it helps you too!

1. Make a plan
Plan plan plan. I never stuck to a revision plan when I was revising for my GCSEs and even A-Levels, but with everything else going on, planning what I am going to do each day is essential..

2. Commit
Decided you're going to have a library day? Stick with it. Get up, make a nice breakfast, pack a nice lunch (I always go browsing on Pinterest in the evening to see what things I can make!). If you're going to have a day off, commit to it. Don't feel guilty, just go for it!

3. You do you
You are the only one to know what works for you. And you do it! Don't feel pressured into working a certain way or doing things you want to do because other people tell you you shouldn't. .

4. Don't compare
Don't compare yourselves to others is an easier thing to say than to do. They'll be people who work all hours of the day, and even make you feel bad that you're not doing the same. If a certain way works for you, then you do it. I personally find that working in the morning and afternoon is best, and then I take the evenings off to relax.

5. Relax
With that said, make time for yourself to relax! Finish the day watching some Netflix, do some baking or just read a book. Taking some time away from your essays and revision is so so useful. Make sure you do it!

6. Spend time with friends and family
Easter is also the time to spend with you friends and family. Whether you're heading home for a few weeks, or staying at uni (like myself!), take a day off to explore the local area or just relax with your friends. Don't become a social recluse and lock yourself in your room. It's not fun, and not beneficial! If you are worried about missing work, make a library or work day with your friends. It doesn't sound fun, but knowing your friends are there will help too.

7. Eat healthy or Go to the gym
I always make the mistake of overeating when I am revising. I'm planning to swap the unhealthy snacks for fruit and smoothies, so that I don't come out feeling groggy and sick! I also make sure that I always have time for the gym, even if it is just for half and hour in the morning or evening. It makes me feel so much better, especially after a long slog in the library.

8. Talk to someone
If things are getting too much, tell someone. Whether it's your parents, friends or even your GP. This is a stressful time and it's no wonder that things are getting hard. There are so many charities you can call, like Mental Health Matters  which often have lines open 24 hours a day. Don't suffer in silence.

 You are so much more than your grades and productivity. Be kind to yourself.  


Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Breakfast ideas

I'm all about breakfast. Seriously, is it not the best meal of the day?! I usually reach for a quick slice of toast (usually with just butter because I haven't had a chance to go shopping) or cereal (my favourite in Krave, but only when it is on offer because no student can afford £3 cereal!) As revision period looms and dissertation panic is in full flow, I've decided enough is enough.

Yes... I have become one of those people who instagrams their avacado on toast. And I'm not even sorry. 

I LOVE them! I buy the 4 packs from tesco that come in handy one portion sizes. They take a few days to ripe and then they are ready to eat. I usually mash them up with just some salt and spread it on toast. Yum. 

I also poached an egg for the first time the other day and it was so much easier than I thought.

Crack the egg into a mug and out some water on the hob. Make sure the water is hot, but not boiling and stir is quickly. Wth the water still swirling, place the egg in. Hopefully, the water will make the White wrap around the yolk, although this didn't happen first for mine, so I had to swirl it around a bit more! Leave it for like 4 minutes and gently take out with a slotted spoon. And then open the yolk and take an instagramable photo! 

And why not just put your eggs and avacado together. Gotta get those gains. 

In all serious, having a breakfast that I look forward to really sets me up for the day. It's seriously worth the less time in bed!

If all else fails, you treat yourself to some Krave. You deserve it! 


Sunday, 20 March 2016

Term 2 round up | University

I've officially finished all of my formal teaching at university. I've finished my penultimate term! Goodness, that is so scary to say out load. The last 10 weeks have absolutely flown by, and graduation is getting ever and ever closer. This term has been somewhat better than the last.

1. Started CBT
Early January, I began having weekly Cognitive Behavioural Therapy sessions for my health and general anxiety after going to the GP in December. These have shaped most of my weeks at University, and I am so glad that I made the leap and talked to someone. 

2. Had my first assessment centre
A few weeks ago I went to a graduate assessment centre for a job. I traveled to an around London for the first time by myself, had someone buy me a coffee as I sat in Starbucks filled with nerves. I didn't get the job, but I was proud of myself for just making it to London. Onwards and Upwards! 

3. Skipping lecture
This term was the most amount that I have skipped lectures ever! I did have a good reason though - it brings up my anxiety levels so much. I made the strategic decision to not go to the ones when my mind starts to wonder, or if I could get them online. Probably bad, I know, but being able to relax a little more has helped things in the mental health department a lot. 

4. Rehearsals
I joined a show this term as well as continued in the a capella choir. Doing extra activities really structures my day, and I'm think I'm more productive because of it! It's these activities that have really made my university career the absolute best. 

5. Haircut
I took the leap (or well the hairdresser did!) and I cut off like 4/5 inches of my hair. It took me ages to get used to it, but now I absolutely love it. I feel like a whole new person, ready to take on anything. 

6. Grades
Luckily, my grades have been consistent all year, gaining 2:1s in all of my essays and assignments that I have had back. Thank goodness is all I can say. 

7. Friends
This has been the term that I have met and made loads of friends, as well as working on previous friendships with people that I know I'll stay friends with after university. It's a shame that I have only got to know people now, but there is still plenty of time. 


Sunday, 13 March 2016

Getting my life back on track

For the past few weeks, I've been in a bit of a funk. I felt like I was getting absolutely nothing done, my dissertation was sitting in the back of my mind, untouched for the past month. I never had any time to myself, I hadn't properly seen and spent time with my flatmates. I felt disgusting, tired and unmotivated to do anything about my lack of university work I had been doing. I couldn't think in the present, only at the prospects for the future, which weren't looking good.

It's strange how things can change in a day. It only takes one morning to wake up and think, "I can do this".

1. Get up early

I have had this habit for years that as soon as I wake up, I switch on my laptop, either searching through social media, watching something on youtube and pretty much just wasting time.

Most days, I now try and get out of bed before 8 and either get ready and go straight into university and work a bit before my lectures, or get up and go to the gym. And I don't miss sitting in bed at all, I don't really gain a huge amount by scrolling through Twitter aimlessly for a few hours. However, Sunday is my day off as the gym doesn't open until 9.30 ;)

2. Healthy Eating

I bought my first avacados the other day... Avacados! (Am I a real blogger now?!). I was overeating a lot on chocolate, sweets an basically anything I could find because I was stressed. I knew it was time to stop that, and I started back on the healthier eating. It's made me feel so much better, I no longer feel gross and I'm feeling good.

3. Gym 

Again, much like healthy eating, I had stopped going to the gym. Doing exercise is proven to help with anxiety, and I hadn't gone for about 3-4 weeks. I made time in my schedule to go on my days off, and I am back to going three times a week which is making me feel so much better.

4. Saying No

One of my problems is that I am so busy. I thrive on the business. It usually keeps my anxiety levels down, but in this case it didn't. I felt as though I didn't have any time by myself and as an introvert, you know that's important. I said no to a few social things, and when I said yes, I made sure that it was because I wanted to, not because I felt like I had to.

5. Thinking in the present

One of the problems was that I was focusing on the future. Like what was going to happen if I didn't get good grades and what if my dissertation was bad. Thinking like this meant I wasn't thinking about the present at all. My CBT Therapist and I talked about mindfulness, thinking about the present. I'm still trying this one out, but I thinking only so far as the day ahead is helping, along with my bullet journal that I started a few days ago.

I hope this positive attitude and motivation continues over the Easter break, where I'll have to get all of my dissertation done, plus some more essays and revision. I'm staying at university for most of it, which sucks a bit, but it has to be done!

What do you do when you're feeling a little low?


Wednesday, 9 March 2016

15 Things I will miss about being at Uni

I seem to feel as if I always moan about university. Whether I'm hating on my course, looking forward to leaving or finding the stress and pressure just too much. I don't want to give a tainted view of university, but just make people aware that it is not all going out and getting drunk.

But there are some things little that I'll miss about this whole university and student lifestyle 

1. Buying whatever food you want
2. Being able to have cereal for dinner 
3. Filling up the freezer full of Ben and Jerry's that's half price 
4. Staying in bed on your laptop until midday
5. Being really really spontaneous 
6. Going out and not having to text your parents exactly where you're going
7. Not really having to worry about the outside world
8. Living with your best friends
9. Gossiping until the early hours of the morning
10. It being acceptable to walk around in personalised hoodies, joggers and no makeup, because revision and uni is stressful. That, or you look like you're super sporty.
11. Popping out to get milk in your pjs
12. Also, spending all your day off in your pjs
13. Having a messy room 
14. Exploring new places 
15. Meeting people from all over the world

What are some of the things you'll miss or miss from university? 

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