University: My Final Year Room

I’ve loved doing this post each year, and this year I’m super proud of my room. In my first year I made my halls rather homely, in second year I filled my huge room up as much as possible. I didn’t really get to personalise my third year room, as I’d rented it through Spareroom and lived in with my landlady. This has only resulted me going all out with my room this year!

 photo University Room Tour 3_zpsovbo3xie.jpg photo University Room Tour 4_zpsil2jewbb.jpgAnd it just so happens that I’m also in the tiniest room ever.

My placement year room was small, but it was also full of furniture. This year my room is crammed with a double bed, side table and wardrobe. No room for much else, I’d really prefer a single bed and a little more space, though I have squeezed in a fold-up desk. It actually turns out that I love my little space, it’s a lot cosier than the rooms I’ve had before!

I’ve squeezed in a lot of stuff, I’ve even got an empty drawer at the moment! I’ve picked up some great hints and tips for storage, I don’t think my room has ever been this organised…

 photo University Room Tour 1_zpsy3lofhfl.jpgMy favourite buy has got to be this shower caddy from Wilko. I’ve put in on a coat hook above my desk and it’s the perfect fit for my stationery. I’ve also turned my bags into a bit of a feature – popping my leather tote on the hooks (and using it as storage), and also my mini-satchel on other hooks on my wardrobe.

Speaking of my wardrobe, I’m super proud of how tidy and organised it is! I picked up an organisation system from Sainsbury’s (£10 – bargain!). I’ve used the two shelf racks in my wardrobe to store just about everything – I’ve found that storage solutions are so key when living in a tiny room! Literally every single item of clothing I have with me is crammed in here! There’s no space for much else, hence the spending ban I’ve put in place…

 photo University Room Tour 2_zpsf9olngnp.jpg photo University Room Tour 7_zpsrzxojgjm.jpg photo University Room Tour 6_zpsais08jdp.jpg photo University Room Tour 5_zpsamnjtszx.jpgI’ve got a few nick-nacks, but I’m definitely gone a lot more minimal than previous years.

Another great buy was the slim wicker drawers, again from Wilko. They are a perfect size for hiding away bits and pieces – though most of them are storing my makeup. Whilst I love having acrylic drawers, I’m also enjoying having things hidden away.

 photo University Room Tour 12_zpss4jeegen.jpg photo University Room Tour 10_zps3x44t9ce.jpg photo University Room Tour 15_zpswnprsa4v.jpg photo University Room Tour 8_zpsg9vm9b9h.jpg photo University Room Tour 13_zpsrvawnnzg.jpg photo University Room Tour 16_zpspag3ntfp.jpgI couldn’t resist showing you around our not-so-little house either. We’ve actually rented one in a little village just outside of Canterbury so it’s super quiet, a little cheaper, and still only a ten minute walk onto campus. The stroll in often involves saying hi to the local horses, I’ve even filled my freezer with blackberries. We have a gorgeous original fireplace, which we’ve decorated with candles and fairy lights. I had some gorgeous flowers delivered from Appleyard too – the Hot Toddy bouquet* fits in wonderfully with our living room and just adds the finishing touch. If only we could afford fresh flowers all the time!

The house is lovely, my housemates are even lovelier – it’s going to be a great end to university!

Have you done a room tour post? Link me if you have – I’m so nosey and love them!

University Guest Post: Common Misconceptions

Another week, another guest post and today it’s coming from Georgia of Taking New York. She’s going to be talking about common misconceptions relating to university and let me tell you – it’s a fab post! I wish I’d read it before going to university all of those years ago as it would have definitely eased the nerves a little!

 photo University Misconceptions_zpsgs1tjigt.jpgHi I’m Georgia from over at Taking New York and this week I’ve been given the pleasure of guest posting here on Chloe’s blog! The theme recently has been all about starting university and, as a student entering my third year, I thought it was about time we addressed some of the common university misconceptions.

First off, the whole ‘University is the best time of your life’ myth.

I’m not saying it won’t be the best time of your life (by all means I hope you enjoy every moment of it) but the problem is when that pressure becomes so huge that you feel like a failure for not enjoying every second.

During your three years of studying, I’m sure you will have moments that eventually show up in your highlight reel but not every day will feel like the best time of your life and that is very much okay.

Whilst university involves a certain amount of fancy dress and alcohol, people often forget that it demands a hell of a lot of hard work too; something that isn’t always a barrel of laughs.

On those nights when you find yourself crying in the library because you just can’t see the end of the essay you’re working on, remind yourself that it is okay to be stressed, it is okay to question what the hell you’re doing and, most importantly, remind yourself that this is just a temporary glitch during the ‘best time of your life’.

Next up, one of the biggest worries students seem to have before starting university is:
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You will be expected to go out and drink every single night.

This is not true.

If that’s what you want to do then trust me you won’t struggle to find people to do this with and you won’t struggle to find a decent club on a Monday night. But, if this isn’t your idea of fun then don’t panic.

Whilst the university year typically starts with ‘Fresher’s Week’ which is admittedly very much alcohol-orientated, if you give it time, attend lectures and join societies you will soon find other like-minded souls whom would also rather swap tequila shots for a night of movies and pizza, a day in the Lakes or even punting in Oxford.

‘Getting a first is the single most important thing’.

I know this seems like an odd thing for me to include as a ‘misconception’ but bear with me.

During A-Levels the most important thing is to get the best grade you can in order to meet university entry requirements. However, once you graduate, employers are looking for much more than just a degree on your CV.

Instead, they want to see you have transferable skills, interests and experience too. Regardless of whether you have a first, if you have nothing more to offer a potential employer then there lies a problem.

Instead of putting all your effort into achieving that elusive first, my advice would be to develop a number of other skills too. Skills that will show employers that you can do more than just sit an exam, you can hold down a part-time job, captain the netball team and write for the paper too; a much more interesting and well-rounded person if you ask me!

Now for a ‘rule’ that seems to circulate university and pops up in almost all advice posts:
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‘Don’t get with your flatmate’.

I broke this rule and will happily admit that the first time I met my boyfriend was on the first day of Fresher’s Week, just as we were both unpacking our belongings into adjacent bedrooms.

Though the misconception is that it is bound to go wrong, bound to end in tears and bound to make it awkward for everyone in the flat, two years later and we’re still going strong and very happy.

Perhaps if you’re looking for something ‘casual’ I would agree and say look further afield but, if like me, you genuinely like someone, don’t let this ‘rule’ ruin what could ultimately be pretty special.

 photo IMG_4142_zpsg7rfcejw.jpgLastly, they say you make your friends for life at university and for once, I agree.

University is no different to school in that there will always be people you like and people you dislike, but, because university is so much larger, it is ten times easier to remove yourself from them. In which case, you can happily spend your time forming friendships with those who matter and those who will potentially go on to become, like they say, ‘life-long friends’; one of the very best things about university.

This for me is so true – I met some of the best friends I’ve ever had at university, and I can’t imagine not knowing them. Told you this would be a great post! If you want to guest post over here please email me on [email protected]!

What do you think are big misconceptions about university?

University: A Guide to Insurance for Students

Insurance is something I feel quite strongly about. Having experience in the industry meant I’ve heard plenty of claims stories. Obviously I can’t divulge, however I will say I will now NEVER even go for a short car journey without a seatbelt and I’m VERY careful walking to/from the top deck on buses. Student contents insurance is also very important to me. Whilst I’ve not actually had anything important go missing, I know friends who have had houses broken into – and probably most beneficial for me is the accidental damage cover.

 photo 752aab2f-38b8-48ec-b1a4-4ea766f2f691_zpsa76d96f2.jpgBobatoo have asked me to put together a post based on their guide to student contents insurance – they provide a lot of basic info guides so I highly recommend having a quick glance at their site.

What

Put simply, student contents insurance covers the bits and pieces you bring to university against loss, theft or damage. Thanks to the joys of a long distance relationship I travel a lot on trains, so I always make sure my policy covers loss/theft of suitcases whilst travelling too.
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Why

Because unfortunately loss, theft and damage does happen. This might be accidentally dropping water over your laptop, smashing your phone into a puddle (guilty), or even if your university halls catch fire (true story – it happened at my university whilst I was away on placement). I know people who have claimed after all their food and kitchen equipment disappeared from their kitchen. I know ground floor rooms have bee emptied when the occupier nips to the toilet. I myself have had vouchers taken from my post.

How

There’s a couple of options regarding how to insurance your stuff. The easiest is to see if your parents can extend their policy to cover an additional address. The ‘cross your fingers’ approach is to just go with the insurance provided by your accommodation – which is likely to be limited to only pay out when things like a fire cause damage, and possibly only covers a small amount. This option is definitely not sensible when you are living in privately rented houses! However in a private house it may be possible to chip in with friends and get a whole house polices. However in my opinion the best way is to get specialist student contents insurance. This is more likely to cover all possible eventualities, and you’ll virtually definitely get the cover you need.

Tips

  • Check everything is covered. I’ve found I have to insure my camera as a separate gadet so it’s covered when I take it out and about.
  • If you’re privately renting its often worth adding in accidental damage cover – it may help protect your deposit if something does happen.
  • Double check the policy limit and excess, to make sure you know exactly what’s covered and what you need to pay.

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*Sponsored post, all opinions are my own. Make sure to check out Bobatoo’s guide to student contents insurance!

Do/did you have student contents insurance? Did you ever have to use it?

University Guest Post: 8 Lessons in 8 Years

This guest post is one I’ve been really excited for! Louise from Thrifty Lil Pixie is almost finished with a whopping eight years of university (four years undergraduate, she’s now in her final year of four years of postgraduate!) and is going to share everything she’s learnt. I’ve just started my fourth year and can’t imagine carrying on for so long – respect to her! Here’s the eight lessons she’s learnt during her eight years at university…

 photo thriftylilpixie graduation_zpsxevb3l4q.jpgIf there’s one thing I know a lot about, it’s going to college. I went to college at 18 to study Biology, I completed 4 years of undergraduate studies with a first class honours degree and after a week off began postgraduate studies in Biology. I’m currently in my final year of a 4 year PhD.

There is no shame in working hard.

Yes college is amazing fun, there’s so much going out to do, friends to make, parties to attend…but partying aside you go to college for one primary goal: to learn. You may not learn exactly what you thought, you may learn more than you ever dreamed, you may learn that college isn’t for you. Whatever you learn college is hella expensive so make sure that learning is high on your list of priorities. I was never embarrassed to admit I studied hard in college; I studied for every exam and worked hard on every assignment. I worked hard to get there after all so I wasn’t going to waste it. Don’t be the person who brags to everyone they did no work whatsoever and then gets 90%, nobody appreciates that, trust me. If you’re lucky that hard work might turn into a funded PhD, where they pay you to go to college instead of the other way around!

You learn much more than your chosen subject

Yes, you’ll learn loads about your chosen area, but you’ll also learn loads of valuable skills like researching, public speaking, budgeting, house hunting and networking, plus how great Primark is…

Follow your heart

When I was in school my exam result suggested I should study Art or English in college, so it seemed strange when I choose Science but that’s what I really wanted and it worked out great. Again when I was in college we were able to specialise in either biological or biomedical science. Biomedical was way, way more popular but I’ve always loved the environment so I opted to do biological instead and I ended up getting a PhD position in the area. Follow your heart, you’re the only one that has to live your life, so live it your way.
 photo thriftylilpixie research_zpsa3m6hps3.jpgClearly happy to be doing research that lets me work outdoors!

College isn’t for everyone and there’s nothing wrong with that

College is amazing for some and not for others and that’s not something to apologise for or be embarrassed by. There are countless jobs and careers out there, many of which college is not necessary or doesn’t prepare you for. Don’t feel pressured into college if it’s not what you want, it’s not essential for living your life. More and more people are creating their own jobs like professional bloggers and youtubers, app developers. There are no rules for how you have to live your life or what career you choose.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

You’re paying plenty of money for an education so if you are struggling or don’t understand something, always ask for help. Also if your worries stretch beyond your next assignment you can still look for support. Many colleges provide study support centres, counselling services, financial advice and medical centres, so if something is stressing you out reach out for help.

Living away from home is a learning curve

Learning to live on your own is probably as big a learning experience as college itself. There’s finding accommodation, paying for it, managing bills and shopping, not to mention living and getting along with all kinds of people. You’ll learn the arts of budgeting, management and diplomacy. Or if diplomacy fails and you end up with all-out war, you’ll definitely learn something too.

There are bargains to be found everywhere

You will learn to stretch your money as far as possible. Use your student discount everywhere. Go to Tesco in the evening to buy all the discounted food. Stores own brand is as good as fancy brands. Takeaway and alcohol are amazing and expensive so try and make some veggie pasta bake instead when you can motivate yourself too. Join college clubs and societies for subsidised holidays; I went on a super cheap scuba diving holiday to Lanzarote this way!
 photo thriftylilpixie scuba_zpsfeq4nbnx.jpgScuba diving on a student’s budget

Scientists don’t have to look or dress a certain way

To be honest this was never something that played heavily on my mind as I dress how I please but with many people there is a certain expectation about how people in certain professions should look or dress. A while back I was invited to contribute to the tumbler sartorial-science.tumblr.com which shares profiles of people who work in science with an interest in fashion, with the aim of challenging stereotypes of what scientist wear and should look like. It’s a great site, with a great aim, so no matter what you choose to study in college don’t think you have to look a certain way or have particular interests just because of the classes you attend.

Thanks so much to Louise for sharing her experience and lessons over here – I particularly liked the last point! As a maths student I’ve often been told I “don’t look like a maths student” which I think is a good thing…?!

What did you learn at university? Ignoring all the academic bits and pieces!

University: #MakeItRight In An Emergency

Not being able to make calls sucks. Not being able to send a text is heartbreaking. Not being able to access the internet is terrifying. This is all especially true (to me at least) during university term. I might need a late night taxi home from the station or Dad’s guidance on how to work the washing machine, emotional support when squishing a spider, or just a chat with W. And check when my next lecture is, obvs.

 photo MakeItRight Three 2_zpsstjozgfj.jpgI’m not exactly the most…sensible…of people with my phones. During the first ever term of university I fell out of a taxi (completely sober having finished a late shift at work), sending my phone crashing into a puddle. I’ve also not had the best luck tech-wise, with three faulty Samsung and a dreadful HTC in the last four years. I’ve recently upgraded to a lovely new phone and I’m determined to keep it as safe and unblemished as possible. For me that involves not putting it in risky situations.

Three are keen for me to #MakeItRight and show you just how important having an emergency phone is. They sent me over a Lumia 530 to take out and about where my new phone would be ‘at risk.’ Whilst I’m not a fan of clubbing, one of the best things about this is that it’s a lot smaller than my actual phone making it the ideal exercise companion. It fits in my hand far easier than mine so it’s perfect for taking on a run. Not that my fitness routine is getting much action since my experience with a tick in Devon…!

 photo MakeItRight Three 1_zps0ld6adzd.jpgPerhaps even more wonderfully, they also sent over a battery pack. As someone who consistently forgets to charge their phone this goes a long way to easing my bad habit. I can see this becoming an absolutely godsend on Friday night travels up to Will’s, but it’s equally as helpful when I’ve spent gaps between lectures having a Pinterest binge…

 photo MakeItRight Three 3_zpsabl8vg7f.jpgI’d never really considered having an emergency phone as a university must-have, but having one has pretty much changed my mind. With a Three SIM-only deal I’ve found that I can top up as and when I need to, always remaining in contact with friends and family. Touch wood I’ve not had any accidents with my actual phone, but it’s always good to know I have a backup plan!

Oh yes, and university post on a Tuesday?! That’s partly down to scheduling problems meaning this didn’t go live on Sunday, and partly because being back at university means I’m having to post less often. And don’t have the budget for fashion/beauty posts every week…

Do you have an emergency phone, or would you consider having one?

University Guest Post: Heather’s Experience & Tips

Guest post time, and this week I have Heather from Of Beauty & Nothingness (one of my favourite blogs BTW) talking about her university experience and giving some of her top tips. I love getting others to share their experience with you all – as obviously it is different for everyone! Here’s her story…

 photo DSC00801_zpsef7ezfhc.jpgSince I was a child, going to university was just the thing to do and I always received good grades so it was inevitable that I would go to university. However, when I didn’t do as well as I needed to to get into the university I wanted (and the only one I applied for), I ended up looking through clearing which wasn’t the quickest process and it did leave me feeling a little disheartened.

However, thankfully I was able to get into a small campus which is part of the University of Huddersfield which was only a fifteen minute drive away from my house so I didn’t have to move out; also the tiny campus didn’t even have student accommodation.

 photo DSC00789_zpswx64bead.jpgI’m generally a shy person and I do worry about anything and everything so a smaller campus was definitely the best choice for me personally and as it was small, there was so much more interaction with lecturers so I was able to ask questions and really be part of the lecture which I don’t think would have been possible in a large/main campus with one hundred or more students.

I studied psychological studies as I loved my psychology A levels and it was the topic I was best at and I’m so glad that I did take the time and effort to go through clearing and gain a place at such a great and friendly university. Even though my first day was filled with stomach turning nerves, it was a fairly relaxed and friendly day, apart from the damning lecture on plagiarism and Harvard referencing.

I am really proud of my first class BSc (Hons) degree and even though I now want a career within different field, I do think that it was worth the time, stress, money and effort as I genuinely loved my time at university and I missed it from the moment I found out my final grade.

 photo DSC00791_zpsu3nuwxdt.jpgHowever, if you are thinking about university, make sure you not only choose a subject that you are good at and enjoy but one you could consider yourself having as a career in the long term. Also always keep your options open! Here are a few of my university study tips:

– Always double check your references, it is worth the extra time!

– Scheduling revision/reading/essay writing time and relaxing time will definitely help you feel less guilty when you do want to relax and binge watch Netflix…

– After writing an essay go back to it a few days later as you always spot silly mistakes!

– Help out your class mates – group revision can be useful and it won’t seem as boring or stressful.

– Before an exam always make sure to eat and drink, you don’t want to be worrying about stomach gurgling noises in a silent exam room, that always happened to me!

 photo DSC00784_zpsawu62bjx.jpgThese are some great tips, I definitely agree with the last point! If you want to share your university experience here then please get in touch at [email protected]!

What are your top tips for university?

University Guest Post: Staying Focused in Lectures

I do confess to having a mind that likes to go on a bit of a wander, so for me staying focused in lectures can be really difficult. Add in unlimited university wifi, Bloglovin, Pinterest and Twitter – and some lecturers have little to no hope in keeping me engaged. When Jennifer (who write one of my favourite blogs, Ginevrella) offered her guest post on Staying Focused in Lectures I knew I had to share – and with my first day of lectures in nearly 18 months today I’m hoping to pick up some tips!

 photo Staying focused in lectures title picture_zps38kg45wa.jpgAhh, lectures. Having made it through four years of university, I’ve sat through my fair share of lectures (granted, clinical years of med school do have significantly fewer lectures than pre-clinical). And sitting in a warm, windowless room with two hundred and fifty other people while someone stands at the front talking at you is not exactly the most exhilarating of learning experiences.

But, it’s kind of what you pay for. And I don’t know about you, but I’d rather not snooze my way through £9,000 of lectures. (Admittedly I’m one of those museum relic students who actually still only pay just over £3,000 a year. We do still exist, just about). Or even if you do kind of fancy treating lectures as one big, daytime sleepover, it doesn’t generally do much for your exam results…

So having sat through literally hundreds of lectures, I thought I’d share a few pointers on how to at least remain conscious in lectures… and maybe even to make them worth getting out of bed for.
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Take Notes

Lectures can be very passive, and this is one of the reasons I sometimes find myself zoning out a bit. I notice that I concentrate far better if I’m writing down the key points delivered by the lecturer. I like to annotate our handouts with things to help me understand the slides and concepts, other people like to write straight into a notebook, iPad or create flashcards as they go.
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Stay Hydrated

Taking a bottle of water into lectures seems to help (especially if you drink it). Sipping on water or juice makes me feel like I’m ‘doing something’ so I don’t get quite so bored, and there’s probably something scientific about water and concentration too.

Take Advantages of Breaks

If you’re lucky enough to have entire days of lectures, you’d better hope that they’ve scheduled in a bit of break time too! It can be tempting to spend the breaks remaining in your seat, but it’s far better to move about, get some fresh air if you can, and refill your water bottle. During an intense block of lectures at the start of last year, we made a habit of going to a local coffee shop for a pick-me-up in the middle of the morning – a little treat to keep us going!
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Put your Phone Away

During first year, my phone didn’t connect to the internet properly anyway, and most of my uni friends were sat in the same room as me, so it was never a huge distraction. But since getting a smart phone, it’s been very tempting to spend entire lectures scrolling through Twitter or Instagram, or texting friends now that our year is split into four. Nowadays I try to leave my phone out of sight for at least most of a day’s lectures (nobody’s perfect, ok?).

Position Yourself Wisely

I’m not suggesting sitting middle of the front row necessarily, but somewhere in the middle usually works well for me. Sitting in the back corner just feels like an invitation to daydream, while sitting right at the front makes me feel pressurised to be focusing intensely. Also any lecture theatre I’ve ever sat in seems to have about three climates of its own – it’s usually tropical somewhere near the top.

 photo lecture notes 2_zpsloo6ccjh.jpgSo there you go, my top tips for maintaining concentrating through lectures. I’m now rather conscious of the fact that I’ve made my lectures sound like they’re all mind-numbingly dull, but I’d like to point out that this isn’t actually the case! I love my course and the things we learn are fascinating – it’s just that by the fourth hour straight of lectures, even those with the best of intentions start to drift off… Hopefully with a few of these tips you can make the most out of your lecture time!

What are your top tips for staying focused?

University: On Heading into Final Year

I can’t believe I’m writing this post. It feels like yesterday I was squeezing things into the car, booking train tickets for the two passengers who didn’t fit, and sobbing as my and W went off in separate directions. Now I’m sat in my final student house, just about unpacked and ready for my first lecture of final year tomorrow. HOW DID THAT HAPPEN?!

 photo 2015-08-16 11.02.09_zpshwaq9my0.jpgMy parents live very, very close to a university (let’s just say Fresher’s weekend =/= a good night’s sleep at home!), and driving past last week I was shocked at how young they look. Then I realised they are pretty much closer to my baby sister’s age than mine.  Then I realised that I’m getting old…

When I left to go to university I was both under and over prepared. I took a huge amount of stuff, some of which never got used. I still have a lot of stuff (huge panic when my dad’s car got recalled back to the manufacturer this week, potentially leaving us with just a diddy Clio to get to Canterbury…), so I can’t say I’ve improved in that area. I didn’t really have a clue how to operate the washing machines; now I at least now that if I press buttons my clothes will get clean.

I can differentiate, integrate, build accounts, calculate expected pension income given age, develop insurance claims. Or I could, until I took a year out on placement.

 photo Pump Shoreditch 1_zpsanpm0hx1.jpgAnd that brings me to my major fear for this year. My placement year was one of the best experiences of my life, but can I remember any maths?! Erm, no. So I’m hoping I don’t majorly embarrass myself over the next few weeks. Especially as the studying I mentioned in my September goals failed miserably…

I’m also terrified of walking into my lecture hall tomorrow and not knowing anyone, not recognising any faces. My closest friends do a slightly different course, so I have some modules where I now know very few people. I’ve lost my comfort blanket, and I’m nervous. Deep down I know I’ll be fine once those first few days are over!

 photo 2015-09-06 09.27.09_zpsw14mwfw5.jpgWith final year comes stress. Stress about getting the grades, about pulling my average up following the RSI I suffered in second year. Stress about getting my dream graduate job. Stress about where to live after university, leaving my friends, moving out properly. But I’m determined to make the most of final year. I’m living with two of my bestest friends, I’ve got the loveliest boyfriend to visit on weekends, I’m doing a course I feel enthusiastic about. So let’s crack open a bottle of wine snuggle up with a cuppa, and get started with final year!

How did you feel about entering final year? Or are you still at university – and how are you doing?

University Guest Post: The Relationship Guide

The latest in my guest post series, here is Becky from Blogger & The Geek talking about being in a relationship at university. I found this a really interesting read as mine isn’t the usual university relationship (there’s not many who have kept up an LDR for three years!) – I’ll definitely be making sure I make the most of my girlfriends after reading this!

 photo Relationship guide_zpsn0eeetpe.pngWith everyone getting their A Level results recently and off to University soon, I must admit, I’m jealous. It will be six years ago this September when I started my degree at the University of Lincoln and I had the best 3 years of my life. I met my best friends, lived independently, made some good and bad memories and I met my boyfriend, Ant, who I’ve been with for five years.

It’s inevitable that you will meet a number of different people at University. I remember my freshers week being a haze of alcohol and meeting so many different people each night. As you get more and more settled, you may find yourself getting into a relationship and, because you’re away from home, it brings a whole game of the table. You can have them stay over, you’ve got a whole house/flat, a city homed to different bars and restaurants. It’s a sense of freedom that I personally never really had before.

With this new freedom and dynamic, there are pros and cons. Having been with Ant for the majority of my University life and living in a houseshare with different people. I balanced my friendships, relationship, a part time job and my degree whilst at University. It’s an achievement because it’s really difficult.. here are my top tips to keeping the balance of your relationship.
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Remember you share a house with other people.

This one sounds a little ridiculous seeing as you live with other people. In my first year, I shared my flat with two other girls and then shared a house with 3 other people. It’s easy to get wrapped up in your relationship and forget about your housemates. If you’re having a cosy Netflix night in sprawled all over the sofa and taking over the living room with your Two for Tuesday, your housemate might be stuck in their bedroom and feels a bit awkward interrupting. Let them know what you’re doing in advance. They’d really appreciate it.

Schedule time to see your friends.

As exciting and loved up you may be, don’t forget to spend times with your friends. Remember to keep going on nights out, going on coffee dates and breakfast dates before lectures. If it all goes wrong, they’ll be the ones you will rely on and pick up the pieces.

Go to each others houses.

One bonus of being in a relationship at Uni is that you now have 2 bases. That 9am lecture on a Wednesday and the other half lives next door to the seminar room? Big, big bonus!

Keep being yourself.

If you’re part of a University society or a club, make sure you keep going! It’s good to have separate hobbies and building a life outside of your relationship. Even outside of Uni, it’s important to not live in each other’s pockets.

You have another brain to use.

One thing with my boyfriend and I, we could use each other’s brains to our advantage. My boyfriend is dyslexic and often missed words out of his essays so I always re-read his work to check for spelling and that it made sense. My boyfriend’s a creative which was amazing for bouncing ideas for my creative writing piece in my third year.

 photo 1157450_10151785402043516_1823432763_n_zps74278bb0.jpgI found that this guide helped me with not only having a loving and balance relationship but it balanced my friendships and helped me achieve my degree. Always remember what you went to University for and what you set out to achieve.

What are your tips for managing relationships at university?

University: Student Loan Horror Stories

I’m kind of a little dubious about writing this post, as I have a sneaky suspicion that this year will be the first I have a real issue with Student Finance. More on that later, because as yet I’ve had pretty much perfect experiences with the UK loan company. Sure, the site is horrendous (though better than the first year I used it), yes the people on the phone lines aren’t the easiest to deal with, but the payment has turned up on time and that’s all I’m really worried about!

 photo Money2_zpss6sspetc.jpgHowever I have been lucky. I know friends who have had payments delayed for weeks, often through no fault of their own. This year SFE have ‘lost’ the financial records of many applicants’ parents – and I’m still concerned that this will delay my own payments. I know of people who have been so confused by the system, so baffled by the information requested that they have unknowingly delayed or even cancelled the payments.

My Voucher Codes have found that nearly 40% of students had experienced problems when applying for or receiving their student loan. Shockingly, over 20% of applicants had their loan payments delayed, with a further 5% experience up to six months of disruption. You can read some of their findings here – it’s an interesting article!

I genuinely have no clue what I would do in this situation. I have savings in which I could live off, but if I as left to pay even a term of my £9k tuition I would struggle. Luckily many universities are understanding as the money ‘will come eventually’ so I guess I just have to keep my fingers crossed – both that I don’t have problem, and that if I do my university are helpful…This year my parents details have been ‘lost’ several times, so as yet I’m still unsure as to whether my application has actually gone through. It says so online, we shall see!

 photo Money3_zpsmwjm7h0k.jpgYou can read more about their research here, but I’ve also been doing some of my own. I asked around on social media whether anyone had had problems, immediately I was inundated with responses. I’ve kept it all anonymous of course, but here’s some of the problems personal friends have experienced;

  • Using siblings’ wages to calculate entitled amount.
  • Changing the amount entitled between April and July this year for no apparently reason.
  • SFE said the university hadn’t confirmed my attendance and to talk to them. Uni said they had and to contact student finance. SFE said there was nothing they could do until the uni confirmed. Repeat.
  • They cut mine this year because (1) they ‘overpaid’ previously and (2) I’m a third year.
  • Term starts in less than two weeks and they STILL haven’t told me what I’m getting…or if I’m even getting anything.
  • The online form was blocked for my application, so I had to fill out a paper copy. And pay for the stamp.

So yes, lots of problems! I don’t have detailed information, I can’t comment on them, but it is clear that perhaps the system isn’t coping as well as it should. Fingers crossed all of these issues are resolved in time for term starting…

How has your experience with Student Finance been? Would any future students appreciate a guide about how to apply for loans?