Managing Stress

At UEA we get 4 weeks off for Easter. While that should be pretty nice, it’s always a weird time of year because you know when you get back to uni, you probably have lots of deadlines to meet and then you’re straight into exam season. It goes without saying this can be a pretty stressful time of year, so here’s a few tips to try and manage stress levels…

  1. Know how you work best.

If you don’t work efficiently, everything is 100 times more stressful, so it’s good to know how you work best. Some people work well with background noise, whereas others need silence and no distractions. Sometimes I find if I work from home I’ll get easily distracted by wanting to talk to my housemates or getting a snack, but if I’m in the library I have no choice but to work solidly. It’s all about personal preference, so have a think about what works for you and then do it – no one’s a fan of a day spent in the library working, but if I know I’ll get a lot done then it’s definitely worth it!

library 2

2. Plan your working hours

Planning is key. Personally, to get stuff done, I need to plan what I’m going to work on and for how long and then stick to it. I used to think things like revision timetables were such a waste of time, but when I actually tried organising my time more carefully I realised how helpful it is and I’d really recommend it. If you’re really busy, it helps to make the most of the limited time you have, and if you have loads of time on your hands it gives your day more structure and direction. Win win.

3. Revise with friends

How you revise depends quite a lot on what subject you’re doing, but if you can it’s always good to revise with others sometimes. For the majority of your revision, I would say you need to work independently, but working in groups can be a nice way to make revision a bit more manageable. Also, teaching others is a great way to learn things yourself.

revise

4. Know your deadlines

Make sure you know the deadlines for all your coursework and know when your exams are. This will help you to plan when work needs to get done and makes sure you don’t get any nasty shocks if you’ve got the deadline wrong in your mind. Writing them out can be a good way to make sure you’ve got all the dates right, and then as you complete them you can cross them out which is always therapeutic.

5. Your life shouldn’t be 100% work

No matter how behind you feel with work, or how stressed you’re getting about exams, don’t let it completely take over your life. Make sure you are making time to relax and see your friends otherwise you’ll just feel miserable! Sometimes if you’re feeling really overwhelmed with work the best thing to do is to have a day off to clear your head, even if it feels like you can’t afford to be taking time off.

6. Ask for help

Don’t be scared to ask for some help! Feedback from seminar leaders can be especially helpful for essays. Take your essay plan or ideas to your tutor and ask for their opinion, they know a lot more than you do and they will often have some really helpful feedback. If you’re genuinely struggling with stress, please tell someone. Deadlines and exams are important, but they shouldn’t be taking over your life with stress and anxiety. Talk to your advisor or make use of the Student Support Service if you’re struggling. The Student Support Service also offers help with study skills and academic work – find out more here.

 

10 Reasons to Choose UEA

The UCAS deadline for applying to university has been and gone…which means you now have to wait patiently for offers and start thinking about what university you want to attend in September. So without further ado, I present to you: 10 reasons to choose UEA

1.Our Campus – If the only experience you have of UEA is an open day in the rain, you might not believe me here, but I promise you – you will love campus. Why not check out my post about the lake to see a few snaps of how stunning the broad is. When I visited UEA, I didn’t like the Ziggarats, but now I’m prepared to defend their unique beauty to anyone who dares suggest they look bad – love them or hate them, they’re iconic.

2. Snapchat filters – just putting this out there, UEA has some pretty great snapchat geofilters. If you come to UEA, be sure to send numerous snaps all with a lovely ‘oh UEA is wonderful’ filter to your friends at other universities to make sure they know what they’re missing.

3. Student Satisfaction – Last year UEA came joint third in mainstream university student satisfaction in the National Student Survey. It’s also the only English mainstream university to achieve a top-five ranking every year since the survey began in 2005. Not bad.

4. Norwich/Norfolk – Norfolk is a beautiful (and often overlooked) part of the UK. Norwich itself is a great city, with so much to do and see. I love it so much that I can’t do justice to it here, but check out my posts on Great Yarmouth, Cromer, Blickling Hall, exploring Norwich and a day in Norwich for a lil’ taster of the stuff you can get up to here.

5. Rabbits – there’s a whole lotta rabbits around campus. They’re sure to brighten up your day on your way to a lecture, and ‘The UEA Rabbit’ has it’s own twitter account. There’s also rumours that if you manage to catch a rabbit and bring it to the bar, you’ll get a free drink, but after you’ve tried chasing a rabbit (everyone has, let’s be honest) you’ll realise it’s not so easy.

6. Sainsburys Centre – In a mostly concrete campus, the Sainsburys Centre for Visual Arts really stands out. Despite being designed at the same time as the Ziggarats, it looks really futuristic – hence why it’s also famous for being used as Avengers HQ in the Avengers films! If you’re into art, it’s a lovely place to spend the afternoon, or if, like me, you’re more into food, the cafe there does some great things and you get a lovely view out of the glass side.

7. Music – UEA and Norwich has a great reputation for live music and gigs. The LCR on campus hosts all sorts of great musicians and groups, and Norwich has lots of amazing venues like the Waterfront, Norwich Arts Centre and smaller independent places. UEA also has some great music societies and organisations that put on events and concerts through the year. Check out my post on music in Norwich and the UEA Choir’s Christmas Carol Concert to find out a bit more.

8. Societies/opportunities – UEA has over 200 student clubs and societies to choose from so there’ll definitely be at least one thing you want to get involved in. Societies brings loads of really cool opportunities, like getting involved in student radio or news, trips abroad and a chance to make some great friends. Outside of societies, UEA has loads of other amazing opportunities – for example, getting a job as a student ambassador gave me opportunities like running this blog, being on the radio and mentoring at a local school. Also don’t forget events like Pimp My Barrow in the summer, which is unique to UEA.

9. Atmosphere – this is hard to explain, but I think UEA just has a really nice atmosphere on campus. When I applied to university, I applied to quite a range of universities, some of which felt like they had quite intimidating reputations. UEA seems to have escaped this, because it feels so friendly. In my university open day experiences, UEA stood out as a university where I felt I could imagine myself enjoying living there. I wasn’t wrong, and I think this friendly atmosphere is part of why UEA ranks so highly for student satisfaction.

10. Sportspark – into sports? Well look no further. UEA is home to the Sportspark, currently the biggest indoor sports centre in Britain. It’s got a climbing wall and an Olympic-sized swimming pool and I’m pretty sure it will cater for any sport you could ever wish to play at university.

So there you have it, 10 reasons to choose UEA. I hope this has been helpful for any of you currently trying to choose a university! If you’re a UEA student and you have any other favourite parts about the uni, why not leave them in the comments below?

A Day in the Life

University is full of exciting opportunities and experiences – in the last year I’ve been to Berlin, been on the radio, listened to Rowan Williams speak, experienced the joy of ‘Pets as Therapy’ , explored Norwich, visited Great Yarmouth and Cromer to name just a few things.

But unfortunately, day-to-day life as a student does involve more typical things like attending lectures and seminars and working in the library. To give you a flavour of what an average day of university work is like, myself and some of the other student bloggers from UEA have each written a short piece about our average days for The Student Room. You can check out what we’ve written here.

If you want to read more from the other student bloggers, you can find their blogs through the UEA website.

On the radio…again

This week I was invited onto BBC Radio Norfolk to talk about tips for freshers and my experience of university. It was a really cool opportunity – the only radio experience I have is from my short appearance on Livewire – so I was pretty excited but also quite nervous!

Here’s the link to my interview, so if you missed it (or want to listen again!) you can:

 

 

 

10 things you need to know

September is here. That means that the start of the next academic year is almost upon us and if you’re a fresher you’re probably feeling a mix of excitement, nerves, worry and anticipation right now (which is totally normal). So as we enter the countdown of the last couple of weeks before term begins I thought it would be nice to write about some practical things you should know for life at UEA…

1. Fire Alarms – I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but if you’re in uni accommodation there will be a fire alarm test in the first few weeks (probably early/mid october, you will be told closer to the time the rough timing) and it will happen at about 5.30am. Just make sure you have shoes and a hoodie close by to grab, but apart from that, its just something you’ll have to experience I’m afraid!

fire alarm

2. Bus Fares – In terms of using the bus, you’ll probably be wanting to get to the city centre. Catch the 25 or 26 bus (both have the same destinations of the city centre and the station but just use slightly different routes) and ask for a young persons return to the city centre which will cost £3. The stop for the city centre is called Red Lion Street and is by Debenhams.

3. Cleaner – If you’re in uni accommodation a cleaner will come into your room to empty your bin every weekday, in my accommodation it would usually happen around 9-10am. The cleaner will knock, but then they pretty much come straight in so listen out for when you can hear them in your flat so you don’t end up having an awkward meeting. They will also lock the door when they leave regardless of whether it was locked or not when they entered, so if you’re leaving your room make sure to take your key with you. I would always leave my bin close to the door so the cleaner wouldn’t have to come all the way into my room and I know some people went as far as leaving their bin outside their door if they didn’t want to be disturbed.

4. Lecture timings – at UEA, morning lectures always start on the hour and end 10 minutes early. For example, a 9am lecture will start at 9am and end at 9.50am. Lectures after 1pm start at ten past the hour and end on the hour – a 1pm lecture will start at 1.10pm and end at 2pm. This is to allow time for staff and students to move around campus to their next lecture/seminar.

5. LCR entry – you can buy LCR tickets online through the SU website. On the door of the LCR you will need to show your campus card and ID and then you show your ticket in the foyer area. If using your phone to dispay the ticket, make sure the brightness is turned all the way up and zoom in on the barcode to make it easier for the SU workers to scan the ticket.

6. Washing – there are 3 launderettes on campus – one in the village, one on the street (centre of campus) and one by the medical centre. To use the launderette, you will need a circuit laundry card from one of the machines in the launderette. You need to load money onto it using the circuit website, activate the money using the machine in the laundrette and then the card can be used in the washing machines/tumble dryers. If I remember correctly, a wash cycle costs £2.40 and 50 mins in the tumble dryer costs £1.60.

launderette

7. Room numbering – room numbering is kinda complicated at UEA, but once you’re used to it it’s fine. On your timetable, rooms will be shown in a set format, an example being ARTS 1.05. The acronym denotes the building where the room is (this list of acronyms will be helpful). The number denotes the floor and room number. UEA has a number of different levels so the first part of the number is what level the room can be found on. 0 is ground floor, 1 is first floor, 2 is second floor etc. If its 01 it’s one floor down from ground level, 02 is two floors down and so on. Most blocks will have signs showing what floor you’re currently on, so just go down or up accordingly. The second part of the number is the room number. So for example, for ARTS 1.05, go to the Arts building, to the first floor and to room 05.

8. Post room – letters and packages will be delivered to the post room, which is under the Arts building. To check if you have any letters, show them your campus card at the desk, and let them know your name and accommodation. If you have a parcel, your name will be on a list pinned to the wall. Tell them your name is on the list, show them your campus card and sign to collect your parcel. The picture below is taken from the student handbook, and has details on what postal address you should use.

post room

9. Printer – Before coming to uni, I wasn’t sure whether I should buy a printer for my room. Some people told me it was a really good idea, while others said you didn’t need one. It’s true you don’t need a printer – stuff can be printed using the printers in the library.However, despite coming to uni without a printer, I decided to buy one after a couple of months because I thought it would be practical for me. Doing history meant I wanted to be able to print off bits of reading I accessed online, and printing notes and drafts for essays was also helpful for me. Overall, it probably depends on your subject and working style as to whether you think you need a printer. If in doubt, best to not buy one and wait for a few months to see whether you really need one.

10. Student deals – being a student means you have access to lots of fab deals. In the first few weeks be on the lookout for Dominos pizza promoters on campus, there’s the chance for lots of free slices of pizza. Another good student deal is the free 6 month student trial for Amazon Prime. This gives you access to Prime Video (films and TV shows), one-day delivery from Amazon, Prime Music and Prime Photos. I used the free trial mainly for Prime Video, which is a decent alternative to Netflix, and the one day delivery was also helpful for buying last minute essentials I realised I needed after starting uni.

So there are my 10 things you need to know! I hope you found these helpful – if you have any questions, let me know in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer. Also if you’re a current UEA student and have any more helpful tips feel free to write them in the comments 🙂

Uni: What to Pack

So, results day has been and gone and now leaving home to go to uni is probably starting to feel a whole lot more real than it felt before. So now you know what uni you’re off to, you can start packing! It goes without saying that packing for uni is a pretty big challenge because it means packing a lot of stuff. My best tip would be to enlist someone more organised than you to help (shout out to my mum), because it’s a lot to pack by yourself. But before you start, here’s some advice on what to pack…

Hangers – its surprising how many people forget to pack hangers for their wardrobe, what else do you expect to do with all your clothes??

Kitchen stuff – a lot of people ask me how much kitchen stuff to pack, but really it depends on you and your cooking style. For example, my flatmate loved making smoothies so she brought a blender to uni whereas I never needed to use one. If you enjoy baking, bring along a selection of baking utensils. The bottom line is bring the basics: I would say a saucepan set, a frying pan, chopping board, a good knife, at least one set of crockery and cutlery, glasses and mugs, measuring jug, baking tray, sieve and a vegetable peeler would probably give you all you need for the essentials. I’ve also been asked whether things get shared in kitchens, and again, it just depends on the people. In our flat we didn’t share kitchen stuff, but I know in some of my friend’s flats they all put their stuff in together and had communal kitchen goods. There will definitely be some things you’ll have to share – don’t worry about packing washing up liquid or you’ll have 12 bottles sitting by the sink at once.

Doorstop – in the lead up to leaving for uni, I read lots of things telling me to take a doorstop to help the flat be more sociable rather than everyone being hidden in their rooms. I have to say, it’s definitely not an essential, but it can be helpful. I did use my doorstop on the first day to keep my door open while I unpacked, but then I didn’t really ever use it again for the rest of the year. So bring a doorstop if you have one, but don’t worry to much if you don’t. (Also bear in mind the doors are firedoors and therefore pretty heavy so you’ll need a decent doorstop and they shouldn’t be left open for long periods of time)

Room decor – things like photos and cushions are a lovely way to make your room feel more homely. I found a good buy was a little plastic set of drawers for the space next to my bed to use as a bedside table. I also brought a nice throw for my bed – personally I never got too cold in my uni room but this might be something to think about for ensuring you’ll definitely be warm enough in the colder months.

IMG_2468

Important documents – don’t forget stuff like ID and any paperwork you need for uni. You might also find it helpful to bring documents like copies of your CV in case you want to apply for a job while at uni.

Easy food – the first couple of weeks at uni are crazy busy, and you’ll still be settling in. This is why I think it’s helpful to have a decent selection of easy-to-cook meals for the first few weeks. Think frozen food and tinned food for the ultimate quick and easy options. You can worry about expanding your culinary options later, but trust me, when you first get to uni you won’t want to have to be planning and cooking difficult meals during freshers week.

Laundry stuff – when you’re no longer living at home, the bad news is you’re now in charge of washing all your own clothes. Make sure you have a decent laundry bag for transporting clothes to the laundrette, a drying rack and get a box of washing capsules because the machines don’t take powder or gel.

So that’s my best advice on what to pack (and what not to pack). If you think I’ve missed anything or if you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below 🙂 Good luck with the packing!!

Results day

If you’ve just finished A-Levels then the 18th August is going to be a pretty big day for you. Results day is always an emotional day, whether you get the grades you were hoping for or not. It’s good to be organised for results day and know your options just in case things go wrong – hopefully everything will go to plan, but it’s good to prepare for all possibilities just in case!

On results day, it’s likely UCAS track will update before you go into your school or sixth form to collect results. This means that even before you have your grades you should know whether you’ve been accepted into your firm choice or not.

If you have got the grades that you wanted then great, congratulations!! Go out and celebrate, and start getting excited about your chosen uni and freshers week.

If you haven’t got the results you needed it’s not the end of the world, so don’t panic! I know that’s easier said than done, but remember you still have lots of options so now you need to focus on your plan B. If you’ve checked track and you haven’t got into uni, get to your school as soon as possible to collect your grades and talk to teachers there. On results day there will be lots of staff around to help people who haven’t got the grades they needed so they can help you work out what you should be doing next. Your best option will probably be going through clearing, which you can find all about here. Grab yourself a copy of the Telegraph, which shows a full list of available courses. Don’t rush into accepting the first course you can find – remember this is a big decision, so make logical and considered choices.

I think it’s good to plan something fun for results day or the day after – whether results day goes the way you hoped or not. You’ve made it through two years of A-Levels! High school is over! So go out with your friends or have a meal out with family and have fun.

I hope results day goes the way you want it to. But even if it doesn’t, remember that life will go on regardless of the grades you achieve! A-Level results are a really good stepping stone to what you want to do next but your grades do not define you. So, remember: be organised and prepared, but don’t panic!

 

Freshers Week

Looking back on freshers week at the end of my first year, it feels like so long ago! I know there’s always a lot of anticipation around freshers week and this can make it seem more daunting than it is. You’re thrown into uni life: living without parents, cooking for yourself, meeting new people and plenty of socialising. For some people this is super exciting, while for others it’s super terrifying. For me, it was probably a bit of both!

I really enjoyed freshers week, and there was loads of great stuff to get involved in, but it’s important to realise that it’s inevitably going to be quite a hectic and crazy week. I’ve heard people say freshers week is the best week you’ll have at university, and this may be true for some people, but don’t feel bad if you come away from freshers feeling slightly underwhelmed – it’s a fantastic week, but you’ll also have other amazing weeks and experiences that might top it, especially once you’ve settled into firmer friendships and routines.

I arrived at UEA on the 19th September. When you arrive, you register in the Congregation Hall where you are given your flat key and all the important documents like housing contracts. I then headed to my block with my parents and unloaded a car full of suitcases with the help of some friendly student guides who are around to help freshers move their stuff into flats. My parents didn’t hang around for long, so I said goodbye and finished unpacking. Gradually as more people arrived through the afternoon I met more of my flatmates and some of us went across the hall to say hi to the flat next door. That evening there weren’t any official events organised because not all the first years had arrived yet due to staggered move in dates across campus. Instead, my first night at university involved sitting on my flatmate’s bed with a few other flatmates, chatting and helping her unpack. We then ventured out on an exploration of the uni in the dark, where we proceeded to get hopelessly lost in our search for the lake. Meeting flatmates and making friends can seem like a really scary prospect but actually everyone is experiencing uni for the first time, and I found it really easy to chat and laugh with people, so don’t worry about it!

For the rest of freshers week there were events on every night in the LCR, our on campus club. Before coming to uni you could buy individuals tickets for certain events or purchase a wristband which gives you entry to all, which is what I went for. It was nice to have the flexibility of choosing what events I wanted to go to, and it meant you could go out as little or as much as you wanted. I went to ‘The Network UEA’, a.k.a. the t-shirt party, where you write social media details on a t-shirt; the School Disco; UEA Fringe (comedy and entertainment night) and the Welcome Prom. They were all really good nights, but I think my favourite was the Welcome Prom at the end of the week which included face paint, a silent disco and bumper cars. There was also a photobooth in the LCR each evening which was so much fun.

As well as the evening events, there is loads to do during the day too. There’s a societies fair, which is definitely worth a visit to see the range of societies on offer and to start getting involved. If you’re into sports there’s a separate sports fair, and also a freshers fair, with loads of student discounts and freebies on offer from local businesses. If you do want to get involved with societies, many of them will run events throughout freshers week so keep an eye out for that. Many events involved free food as well which is great! I went to a pub quiz and a barbecue run by the Christian Union which were both lovely, and more relaxed than a lot of the events going on during freshers which was nice.

On top of all of this, there’s also academic events running through the week. These might seem boring in comparison to all the other stuff going on, but they’re definitely worth going to. It a great chance to start meeting your coursemates and get a better sense of what the course will be like. As a history student, I had a welcome from the head of school, welcome drinks in the history department, introductory lectures to each of the modules, study skills talks, an introduction to the library and a meeting with my advisor.

Freshers week was an incredibly busy week but it was also really fun and an exciting start to university life. It’s natural to feel a bit intimidated or overwhelmed by freshers but my best advice would be to throw yourself into it and enjoy the opportunities available during the week. Freshers week is a pretty unique week of university and you’ll only get to experience it once so make the most of it!

Choosing a University

If you’re applying to university this year, you’re probably at the stage of visiting lots of universities and looking towards choosing your firm and insurance choices. This is a pretty big decision to make so I decided to write about some of the things you might want to consider and tips for making the decision.

  1. Course

This might seem like an obvious one, but you’d be surprised how easy it is to forget about the academic side of university life when you’re visiting new cities and being swept up in campus tours which tell you all about the social life, sports facilities and societies available at a university. Remember that you’re coming to university to get a degree and you need to be comfortable with the course you’re signing up to – you’ll be paying £9000 after all!

Things to think about:

  • Entrance requirements – think carefully and honestly about whether the required grades for the course are achievable. It’s worth having an insurance choice with slightly lower grades as a backup if things don’t go to plan on results day.
  • Is it covering topics you’re interested in or seem useful? Bear in mind that the content of courses will likely vary quite a bit in different universities. If your interests are quite wide-ranging it might be worth considering a joint honours course – for example, I applied for straight History at 3 universities, but also applied for History and Religious Studies at one and History with Ancient History at another. So do some research about what different universities offer!
  • How good is the course? This can seem like a bit of a stupid question, because in one sense it’s difficult to know until you experience it, but its definitely worth looking at league tables to see how the universities ranks overall and for particular subjects. However, remember numbers can’t tell you everything, and if you can you should try and talk to students on an open day or applicant day to see what they think. At UEA, look out for the student ambassadors wearing blue tops.
  1. Location, location, location

Where a university is and what kind of university structure it is (campus, city etc) is certainly something to take into account. The best way to experience this is to go to the university, so if you can get along to an applicant or open day I would highly recommend it.

Things to think about:

  • Do you like the area? You need to feel comfortable in the location where you’ll be living for at least the next three years. This is perhaps more important if your chosen university has buildings and accommodation spread out across a city, but it’s also relevant for campus universities, because you’ll want to venture out at some point! It’s also worth looking into the accommodation after first year if your uni requires you to move out of university halls. Is there good quality student housing in a suitable location?
  • Campus vs city – there are different structures of university which you will want to take into account, do you prefer a campus style university with all the facilities and buildings in one place, or would you prefer a university in a city? This Telegraph article provides an interesting look at some of the pros and cons of both city and campus living: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/universityeducation/student-life/10919646/University-applications-campus-vs-city.html
  1. Facilities

Universities all have a huge range of facilities available, from accommodation to sports and academic buildings to cafes and bars. Think about what your priorities are and take into account the practical implications of the facilities.

Things to think about:

  • Accommodation: this is very important, as you will have to live in the accommodation for at least a year. Think about the quality of the accommodation and its location. Also work out whether you would prefer to be catered or self-catered and whether you’re looking for en-suite accommodation or if you’re happy to share a bathroom.
  • Practical facilities: what does the university have in the way of facilities like a medical centre, laundrette and shops? These seem boring now, but they’ll be very important to your student life!
  • What are you interested in? For example, if you’re sporty, check out the sports facilities offered. UEA has the biggest indoor sports centre in Britain, complete with an Olympic size swimming pool, so definitely check that out if you love sport! You might also be interested in media, music or art to name a few. This is where it might be useful to have a look at the range of societies the university offers.

Picking a university is a big decision, and obviously a very personal choice. Although I can’t possibly cover all the aspects you might want to consider when making your choices, I hope this post might have been helpful in some way! Below I’ve listed some links to information about UEA that might be helpful if you’re considering it as your future university: