Life, Student Life

I’m a Graduate (time to begin adulting)

I did write this last week but, I’ve only just gotten round to getting the pictures off my camera.

So the blog post begins here:

We’ve all seen the memes on social media sites wherein university students or people moving out for the first time have to ‘adult’. And by adulting, we mean it has come to the time when our safety net (parents) have disappeared except for a phone call or text away and we have to begin figuring life out for ourselves. If you have not seen the meme, I suggest you look for one because they can be quite amusing! Well, I technically graduated in June when my certificate arrived reading ‘First Class Degree’- I had one hell of a successful final year whilst battling illness all year round. So, it is possible for all the panicked students out there! But this week I officially graduated, had photos took and wore a cap, gown and hood alongside my parents, and grandparents appearing for the occasion. It was a family day out, and a first for all of them to see someone graduate.

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The Full Outfit

I posed for the pictures on cameras and phones, I saw my friends and had a few pictures with them but, I did not feel different after graduating? Maybe it is because I am not done with education yet. However, some of my other friends mentioned feeling like it was the end of something, they did feel different and so, I attribute it to the fact I want to gain a Master’s degree in HR. For the time being, I work and earn money and I’m looking for something a bit more permanent, so ADULTHOOD begins here! Whilst I picked up some tricks before moving out for university, adulting became a lot harder when it was just me and now I’m back at home yet, still becoming more adult-y by the day. I have known how to cook for years, my slight OCD tendencies come in handy for switching off all electrics at night- plugs to and I like to keep my room clean and have everything organised and as a result, I think these make myself a functioning young adult? But you’d have to ask my parents for clarification.

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The Parents and Me

I’m still stubborn and I refuse to be ill, so I definitely have stuff to learn too. This tends to mean I do not complain unless there is a real issue, which is why my parents knew something was wrong before my week long stay in hospital. Then again it seems to be a family trait…apparently, I did not just inherit the red hair or the ability to hold my alcohol or the quiet stubbornness my mum has which she thinks we do not all know about so SHHH it’s a secret. I feel that no one really knows how to truly adult and maybe my parents don’t have it figured out either? I know I question whether my dad ever grew up sometimes… Or maybe you need to be our grandparents age? They seem to have it figured out. It is an odd thing life. It comes at you so quickly that it is hard to take a breath at times.

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Grandparents!

So even though I’ve graduated, and you would think I have my life together it is not the case, no one does. We all just amble along hoping we make the right decisions with our friends and family by our sides. But, it is a good start to be able to look after yourself and take it from there! No one has their lives together right after graduation. The lucky few have an inkling of what they want to do in life but some of us others take a bit longer to decide. So, don’t worry if you haven’t a clue because it took me a while to make a decision of where I want to be in life. In some respects, a blog like this helps because you can talk to the world even if no one pays attention and make those decisions.

I have a couple tips to begin with though:

  • Learn to cook the basics early- I started when I was around 12? Anyway, if you like cooking then it is a great stress reliever and it is a skill we need to succeed in life. Takeaway and lots of processed food is not the answer. Plus, you want to be able to do more than just make pasta or toast. The only thing I don’t know how to cook is an egg but, I also don’t like them and won’t use that skill in my life unless I meet someone and in that case, they better be able to cook their own. Follow recipe books, ask your family they’ll help if you ask and books have instructions in!
  • Start your kids early, and make them clean their own room- There is nothing worse than someone who can’t make a bed, regularly change their sheets and keep a tidy room. Plus, if you can’t maintain a single task such as this regularly then how do you expect to succeed in work and life when difficulty heads your way? I have cleaned my side, and then my own room for as long as I can remember and that is because my parents instilled that into me. If you can’t keep one room clean how do you expect to keep a flat or a house clean?

It is simple really, learn early or you’ll have to sink or swim when it comes to moving out and figuring out life choices. I’m happy, I have graduated and I’m looking to future able to look after myself with relative ease. That credit goes to my parents, as well as myself. I’m a graduate, a graduate…Nope still don’t feel different yet? It seems like it is time to adult. Oh, I thought you’d want to see the meme so here is an example:

CC: https://pics.me.me/you-is-tired-you-is-broke-you-is-adulting-14526940.png
CC: https://pics.me.me/you-is-tired-you-is-broke-you-is-adulting-14526940.png

 

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Student Life

University Survival Guide: Living Away and Starting University

We have finally reached it! The big day is upon you…are you prepared?

For first years, second years or anyone choosing to move away for university it is a daunting experience. You may not think so at first but the feeling sneaks up on you especially after Freshers. Freshers is a new experience for you, you are buzzed about being away from parents and having your freedom however, this is where your journey begins.

“Freshers Flu- a sickly feeling including symptoms such as a cough, sore throats, sickness etc. A general feeling of illness.”

Freshers Flu gets us all. Whether you are a partier, a quiet night inner or a mixture of the two. No matter what you will catch something because there are so many germs floating around based on the increasing amount of people surrounding you. I have a theory that lecturers either catch it and get on with their days or over the years have managed to build an immunity. Either way, they never really seem to be affected by it. As a recent graduate and someone who chose to move out I thought I would write a little blog post about tips I picked up whilst living away and attending university. So here goes…

Colour Co-Ordinate Your Things

Buy your cutlery, plates, and other crockery in specific colours. You will come with that silver cutlery, talk to your flatmates, and decide to mix up all your stuff in one draw which is all well and good till you move out at the end of the year because if you are not living with those people again how will you know which is yours? Also, if you are the type of person who prefers to keep their belonging to themselves then it will help a lot because your flatmates cannot claim to have used the stuff accidently. Finally, your parents will thank you at the end of the year instead of having to buy another load of stuff for you to move into your next place.

Stock Up on Medicines

We all get ill, it is a fact of life! So, if your family asking if there is anything left you need before you move out then ask for them to put a first aid/medicine kit together with the basics. You will need things such as plasters, antiseptic cream, paracetamols, blister plasters (girls your heels will take a toll), cold and flu calpols etc. but it’ll save you spending a fortune buying them when freshers flu hits if you already have them to hand. All you have to do is remember to stock up your kit when needed on a weekly shop or if you’ve popped into the city for a spot of shopping.

Keep them handy! #medicinekit #funktrunk

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Little Sowing Kit

Do you know how much of a pain it is if you get a hole in your favourite trousers, or if the underwire is popping out of your bra (girls)? Well, its handy if you learn how to sow and perform small fixes to your clothes where possible. Already you have rent, food, and leisure activities to pay for already it is not always ideal to buy new clothes every time there is an issue or waiting until you go home next to dump it all on your parents. You are going home to see them because they miss you…not to dump all your stuff on them whilst you just go out with friends. Also, these little skills will help you later on in life because you’ll have to learn one day. If you are not sure how to sow then ask your family, I am sure they will be delighted to teach you something and if not, there is google.

First Year Does Count

And for some courses it might. But, there are other courses where they do not count the first year towards your final grade. Yet, this does not mean you should slack off and try and pass on the bare minimum. First year serves to raise everyone to the same level in terms of academic writing, teaching basic theories and completing assignments etc and it is true that only 40% is needed to pass into second year but that does not mean you should run off out every night, miss all your classes and then ask for someone to help you pass with the bare minimum. You did not work your butt off to get into university to blow it off. It does count…this is the year teachers assess how you write, research, work and complete assignments which allows them to understand where support is needed but if you are just scraping through so you can go out every night then you should give your place up for someone who really wanted to come and do the work.

HOWEVER

It also counts to have some fun, to let go and be a little crazy. You have moved away, you are independent and you only attend university some of the time so go and have that extra drink, get that tattoo you have always wanted and make friends with a variety of people! First year counts in multiple ways. You have to learn to juggle the fun with work and well because second and third year do count and you cannot rely on just one year to get that 1.1 (first) if you do not have any other grades to fall back on. Everyone is different and I actually managed to get a 1.1 out of my last year but that is not always the case for everyone no matter how hard they try.

Quote saying Here at uni, we have two types of first year: 1-Always goes out barely passing with 40%. 2-Stays in, passing to a high standard but still failing. Open door number three. Have a social life but don't forget to do the work. (door)(heart)(baloons)

Don’t Lock Yourself Away

It is a temptation. You have finally settled in, you are all talked out and you have gotten through the first week of living away from your parents. Now, you may want to fall back into old patterns and locking yourself away from everyone to sit in your room. And that is your prerogative but it is a new place so go and explore, grab some food, and make a few friends. Have them over once you get to know them. Experience university to the fullest!

Boundaries

It sounds odd, I know! But if you like privacy and boundaries then let your flatmates know. They are not mind readers and you cannot expect them to either. If you do not tell people your boundaries they will not understand if they have done something wrong and it is not fair for you to take it out on them either. So, establish a few ground rules to make you feel comfortable and if they are ignored after people are aware, then it becomes an issue you can approach them about. For example, not touching certain foods or if someone uses your stuff but never replaces or washes them after. It is a stressful time to live away and so, you should try and make it as easy as possible for you.

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Have a Good Relationship with Your Proprietor/University Accommodation

Whether you live in a privately rented student house or one of the university accommodations it is good to have a friendly relationship with your proprietor or staff at the university accommodation. This is because your life will become much easier if there is a problem such as a bulb out, plumbing issues, WIFI etc. It is as easy as paying rent on time, reporting issues as soon as they occur and keeping your accommodations clean especially if you would like your deposits back. Also, this links back to boundaries in that not all places will consider you separately from other flatmates so if they break something you may all have to pay. In that case, setting up boundaries that deal with this in some way may help.

A Cook Book

You may have heard the rumours that as students we all live on pasta, noodles and take out. I am here to tell you that is not the case completely. While it is handy to have these cooking short cooks in the cupboard for those days you are in a hurry or heading to the library, a lot of students actually prefer to cook. So, it might be worth finding a little cook book suitable for students to gain ideas or putting one together based on your favourite recipes at home. Parents/Other family and the internet will provide you with great examples. Plus, the freezer is your best friend! You could make a spag bol or chilli and freeze everything else. That will be at least three or four more meals. Or cook as a group in your flat to make huge meals as long as you all split the cost. You could even take it as far as a slow cooker. One of my close friends had one with her for university and she was always using it.

Do Your Assignments

You may want to be out all the time, seeing friends and having fun but there is time to do this and complete your assignments- especially if your housemates all take different subjects. Sometimes you will have to stay in and do your assignments or suffer the consequences. Personally, I found that getting up and heading to the library even if everyone else is in bed or going straight after class and staying till work is complete was the best thing for me. It was hard to concentrate at times where I was living and in the library, I could get into my own world, write my assignments, and do the research particularly if I produced very detailed plans. It does not work for everyone but in my case, I was successful. But do not let anyone else make you feel bad for doing your work because they have not started theirs and want you to fall behind with them. We all work differently and as first years some of you may struggle to find the balance initially but, this comes with time, confidence and setting boundaries!

Make Your Room Your Own

We all walk into bare rooms, remnants of blue tack from the previous tenant mark the wall, cork boards still have tiny bits of paper stuck to them but this is now your room for the foreseeable future. So, make it your own! Buy a few posters to decorate the walls, have a Harry Potter bed spread but make it somewhere you will feel comfortable to live in. After all, it is your space and you have to look at these four walls over the next year. Also, making it your own tends to make it feel less like halls and more homey which is something you’ll need for those wet days, sad days or lazy days.

I would like to end this piece by wishing you all good luck at university and with moving in this weekend or whenever you do. It will be a challenge at first but trust me it is a great experience that you have to immerse yourselves in to get everything out of it. You may have issues with flatmates or university as a whole but, it is how you deal with them that shows your true nature. Whether it is having roommates that annoy you, ignore everyone or feeling like university is getting too hard there are people to talk too. If you have an issue speak to your students’ union, people on your course, or the accommodation staff because they cannot deal with something if it is not happening. Here is an adage that seems appropriate…KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON.

 

Student Life

Students: What You Wish You’d Been Told About Third Year!!

As my final university year comes to a close, with the triumphs and breakdowns. I think it would be useful to think about what I wish I had been told before I begun my final undergraduate year at university. From triumph to breakdown, I’ve been through it all. Therefore, I feel more than qualified to pass on my wisdom.

Here is a list of things I wish I’d have been told before third year, on how to deal with third year:

Breakdowns are unavoidable, and they happen. You just have to let the emotions out and you’ll feel better.

I know if you are a second year you’ve probably heard the joke about the amount of breakdowns a third year student has, and I bet you think that it is a little extreme! Well, let me tell you I reached my limit, three-four times this year and I’ve heard about other students experiencing more. It happens, and when it does just accept it. You’ve bottled the stress up so much, you’ve built the pressure of the dissertation in your head and you’re attempting to have a life. You have to release it. It’s not conducive to a proper work environment. And I can personally tell you, the emotion may overcome you at a random time when work is not even in front of you. It could be the littlest thing to push you.

You cannot control everything, no matter how organised you are. 

It’s true. You might be the most organised student in the world but, you cannot control third year. The first two years you’ve developed a system, you know when you work best and how you work. But, with all the running around you are bound to get ill. The dissertation is at the back of your mind and it is a constant stresser. And stress is not good for your health-mentally or physically. Which leads me to my next point…

Make time for yourself!

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My Running Time

I run. That is my me-time. You have to find an activity in third year solely for you. Something you like to do, that helps you because whilst friends are great. You need to have time to yourself as we all work differently so someone elses early finish, is another persons late start. But don’t place pressure on yourself because of this! You work out whats best for you.

Don’t place all your energy into producing a dissertation. It is just one module!

The dissertation is one module, and it is worth twenty credits. And I KNOW it has a huge build up to it but, there are other assignments who deserve as much attention, as the dissertation does. And each assignment is just as important as the dissertation. I worked one assignment at a time, and I achieved firsts in every module in the beginning of third year. 

But don’t forget the dissertation either…

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My Bound Dissertation

While, you shouldn’t place all your energy into the dissertation, you shouldn’t forget about it either. It is a huge undertaking research and you need to work out what is best for you. Keep in contact with your tutors, they are there to help and guide you and the worst thing you could do is not utilise the resource that is available to you. The tutors want to see you succeed!

Make a schedule- and stick to it. 

You don’t want to be someone who does all the work in their final weeks for the dissertation. It is a year around module, and so use the year constructively. Set yourself tasks and complete them on schedule. And again, if you work well with deadlines then inform your tutor. They can set you deadlines for completing work, which keeps you on target. So, I found all my books and resources, and episodes within first semester for my dissertation. I completed notes on it by the end of January, due to a few hiccups I encountered- getting the flu for the first time in my life. And then my tutor set me a deadline for a completed draft, which I had to push by a week due to illness and injury. But, I still had three weeks till the deadline to do any alterations.

Use the university services available to you!

You may find yourself struggling and that is okay. There are university services available to you, through student support or the library. So, if you are unsure about referencing then sign up to a library session and grab the help you need. If you see a support tutor every week due to a learning issue, then make sure to show them your work. Sometimes, you look at something so much, the words begin to jumble and it just takes another set of eyes to pick up on good points or issues with your work. But, it is not just the people employed by university. Did you know that aside from you, the harshest critic of your work will most likely be a student so, tell your friends you would like them to read work and use them. For the most part, it is likely they are in the same position. But, remember to tell them to give you a truthful opinion, if it needs changing it needs changing.

It’s time to start thinking about the future…scary!

It may be a scary thought but, third year is about looking to the future and beginning to make life choices. Now, not everyone knows what they want to do and you know what that is okay. However, you need to have some plan so, you can begin planning your year around the next move in your life. I have decided I would like to work for the next year, before returning to gain a Masters degree. So, I have a plan. But, that won’t stop me from applying for jobs. Set up as many paths as possible and then you can choose which one you will take a journey down, as in the future you can always decide to change direction and jump onto another path.

Finally…Have Fun!!!

University isn’t the only thing in your life, and whilst third year may be stressful and take over your life it shouldn’t. Go and have fun. You don’t have to work constantly to get good grades, so meet with friends, go out and have fun. Or use spare time to develop yourself, it is as simple as setting up a blog or learning a new language or planning to travel. There are a million options in life, and you can pick from them all. Just have fun. For most of you, it’ll be the last year and although university is where we make the friends we’ll probably keep for life, go and have fun.

 

 

 

 

 

Life, Student Life

Life Has a Way of Creeping Up on You


So, I’ve been sat doing work today, despite illness for an assignment that’s due in a few weeks time. And, as I packed up having written notes on the books I have and having found two more I want to look at before I find journal articles and write a plan this weekend for it. I found myself thinking about how fast final year has come around, it only seems like yesterday that I started first year after taking the decision in the summer to actually attend university. And so, this post is about reflecting on my growth and happiness and to encourage people to take chances. 

First Year: I was scared, wondering whether I’d made the right decision about Sheffield Hallam University and commuting from home, as it was the cheapest decision. But, as I started my assignments and managed to come out with a mid 2.1 overall for the entire year. I even managed to get my first, first which inspired me to carry on aiming for a good grade. Also, I made the decision to move out for second year which was huge because I’m so close to my family but, I wanted to experience university. The independence and the decision to go to university is one of the best decisions I made, it gave me perspective and I became happier and happier! 


Second Year: It was a little rocky at the beginning. I’d never lived on my own and it was hard to get into my own routine. But, after deciding to put myself first and learning how to budget-I’ve known how to look after myself for a while- I was happy. Happier than I’ve ever been which reflected in university with more firsts and leaving with a high 2.1 overall for my overall. I needed to learn to take breaks, and eat when I was doing work but, I did with the help of mum and dad. 

Third Year: So, semester one is over and although it was very stressful for me I have come out the other side. I got extremely good and consistent grades throughout and I’m hoping to carry that on in this semester. I’ve made a decision to come back and get a MASTERS after a year out, to get perspective ( I’ve been in education my entire life). But, I’m happy. I can sit back and be proud of everything I’ve achieved. 

But, now I’ll be in the real world and it has a funny way of creeping up on you. You don’t know how quickly it goes, university is only three years and I have to begin making decisions about what I want in life. I’m still close to my family, I have supportive friends and feel like I’m in the right place in life, that I need to be right now. 

So, all this from just doing some assignment work. I’ve made decisions today, that I need to have schedules sorted and make sure I have breaks so I don’t over stress. I’ll update my blog on my progress and my dissertation work over time.