University: Final Year Thoughts

This post has been sitting in my drafts since February time. It took me until February to start writing as that was just how long it took me to get used to final year, get used to the pace of work, content, lectures, get used to being a student again. Whilst it’s possible it took me that long due to coming back from placement year, I personally found the step up to final year a huge jump.
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It’s Harder Than You Expect

Just under a year ago, I was preparing to start final year. I was coming to the end of my placement year and was preparing to move into my last ever student house. I had heard that final year was tough – I just didn’t believe it. I thought I’d be fine. I’d always been clever, I’d always got ‘good’ results despite being disappointed in my second year. I kept telling myself it would all work out. But then it happened. Final year. The work came in, and plans for blogging daily, for days out, for enjoying my last few months of university, they all went down the pan. Scrapped in favour of long days (and nights) of stress. Swapped for hours in the library.

For me, the difficulty of the content was a big jump up from second year. I found the workload, strangely (and I’m pretty sure I’m one of the only ones!) lighter and far easier to cope with, but I did find the actual material more taxing. There was less immediate understanding, more work to be done on going over concepts. There was one module in particular I was dreading, as I’d really, really struggled with the first part during second year – so I spent a whole week at Christmas going over the previous module and working a little ahead. That strategy definitely worked for me, and I’m so glad I put in that extra effort.

It’s Worth It When The Results Come In

Oh, how it’s worth it. When I found out my degree classification (in the middle of a car park), I cried, I hyperventilated, I had to have help to buckle my seatbelt upon leaving. Knowing that those sleepless nights, the long hours in the library, all the stress, that it had all paid off – it was such an amazing, amazing feeling. Well worth it!

Finding A Job Takes Longer Than You’d Think

Again, this was an area I’d looked at through rose-tinted glasses. Don’t get me wrong, I knew it would be easy to get a job. But I knew I was well practised at interviews, I’d got a years experience, I’d got good grades. I was clearly good at the applications, attending no less than five final stages. Gaining five rejections. All for different reasons, some rather silly reasons. But it was unexpected, especially as with each interview I felt like this was ‘THE’ job, the one for me.

There were a lot of tears when those rejection phone calls came in, including a night of crying, an hours sleep, and going for a run at 6am as I needed to do something, anything, to get my mind off it.

But it did all work out. I did get a job, a job that actually blows the others out of the water in terms of what I wanted. I actually ended up with two job offers (not an ideal scenario when you’re in the middle of your busiest exam week!). What I would recommend is before final year even starts, take a look at jobs you’d like and application deadlines. I’m super glad I did this, as a lot of my deadlines to apply where November-time, with some even closing after just a few days in September. Be prepared!

Likewise, Finding A Graduation Dress Takes Forever

Ah, the graduation dress shop. In some ways I’m super thankful I started this early, in some ways its a curse as I knew I couldn’t put an ounce of weight on in the weeks preceding graduation.

I know some people who are still looking for a graduation dress, just a few days before the event. I know people who have ordered 10+ dresses online, to try on at home (this was going to be my plan, but I only ever found one potential!). I know people who have spent a fortune, people scouring charity shops, even someone whose mum is making theirs. My advice? Start looking early (it’s great for study breaks!), shop in more unusual places (mine is from Next, a place I wouldn’t usual look in), consider the colour of your gown/mortar board and don’t have too small a budget (I didn’t want to spend over £75, ended up coming in under at £55 though the damn thing is now half price!).
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You Use A LOT of Stationary

Seriously – so, so much of the stuff. Far more than in other years and I still haven’t really figured out why! I was a regular in Rymans picking up get another bag full of narrow-ruled paper, I even depleted mutliple BIC biros. I remember just a few days before my final exam, looking in my paper and seeing only half a refill pad. I finished university with two sheets of paper spare – result!

It’s A Time To Push Boundaries

I really feel that, out of all my years at university, it was final year which made me grow up more. I learnt a lot about myself in that year, I pushed myself to do more, to do better, all the time. Be it challenging myself to bake bread, or a new recipe each fortnight, or improving coursework marks with each submission. I even pushed myself to give a talk to over 200 prospective students and their parents – scary stuff.
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Say Goodbye to Nights Out. Say Hi to Nights In

Admittedly, I’ve never been a person for going out-out. I love nothing more than a couple of glasses of wine, a couple of bottles of good cider, perhaps a few nibbles, in a pub. What I don’t like is music too loud to hear the person next to you, sticky floors and feeling anything more than tipsy. However some of my absolute favourite nights throughout university have been during final year, and involved good healthy snacks (try my Banana Nutella Microwave Mug Cake) and a whole lot of giggles.

The best night? Probably the night of the Great British Bake Off final. Myself and a housemate ate so much baked goods we had to go for a lie-down by 9pm…
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 photo Room Tour Summer 2016 9_zpsobhceih8.jpg photo Room Tour Summer 2016 1_zpscbjysfmu.jpgMoving Back Home Is Daunting

This was the thing I worried about throughout my final year. With going on placement, visiting W, living in London last summer, it all transpired that I hadn’t been at home for longer than 6 days in 2 years. I was worried I wouldn’t have a job, and that I’d be stuck at home for the foreseeable future. It goes without saying that I love my family, I had an extremely good relationship with them and I do love being at home (hello dippy eggs, decent Sunday roasts and dad’s baking!) – but I didn’t want to lose my independence. After a slight paddy over my mum putting my clothes away for me, I’m just about used to it again. Though I can’t say I’m not looking forward to moving to London at the end of summer…

What tips do you have for getting through the final year of university? How did you find your final year?

 

University: Why I Went

Going to university was probably the hardest decision I ever had to make. Sure, perhaps not the most life changing (that one goes to asking a tall, skinny boy to help me get to grips with A-Level chemistry), but probably the one that needed the most thought. It definitely wasn’t a decision I took lightly, it was far from easy, and I’m rather hoping I don’t have to make such a huge decision again!

 photo Why I Went to University_zpsncsnldpd.jpgYou see, I was never planning on going to university. I’m not a fan of alcohol (give me a glass of wine with dinner, or a cocktail and a burger and I’m your girl, but getting beyond tipsy is not something I enjoy), I’m not keen on crowded social situations (things like standing in a concert crowd gives me palpitations). I get insanely stressed over exams, I’m a perfectionist when it comes to coursework. And I like shopping. I honestly thought an apprenticeship scheme was the way to go for me.

 photo University Goals2_zpsrujei6ip.jpgAnd then I discovered a career. A job I thought I would love. A job that appealed to all the skills I thought I had at the time, that at the age of 16 I could see myself doing. A job that very much requires a degree.

Nearly six years on, preparing to graduate with a First Class Honours, with that job all lined up for September, I couldn’t be prouder of myself. I pushed myself to move away from home to get the best degree possible, I made the decision to put myself and W through an LDR for four years. I stayed true to myself under pressure to “drink more and enjoy myself,” I finally beat my own demons and realised that I don’t need to make myself ill to get the grades I want.

 photo FB_IMG_1466251622119_zpslhkyvahi.jpgI didn’t go to university for the ‘student lifestyle.’ I didn’t go to university to meet new people, to experience new things. The only reason I went was to get the degree I needed to get the job I wanted. Possibly not the best reason (what if I hated the job? At least a placement year means I don’t have that worry anymore!), but that’s why I went to university.

I don’t regret it. Yes, I might not have experienced the typical university lifestyle, but I’ve made some of the closest friends I could imagine having. The past four years have defined me as a person. I’ve learnt how to cook, how to eat properly. I’ve learnt how to study until the early hours of the morning, how to put up with working in groups where no-one pulls their weight. I can do food shops on less than £15 a week and still afford the bus home, I’ve become a whizz at finding discount codes.

 photo 2015-12-08 12.03.46_zps7ankjz1y.jpgMaking that decision to go to university is highly personal. I’d never, ever suggest doing it because “everyone does it” – I know that for me, had I not decided on this career route, university wouldn’t have been the path for me.

Why did you decide to go (or not go!) to university?

University: Finishing Up with BBQs, Summer Balls and Cleaning

“It’ll fly by” they said.

“It will be over before you know it” they said.

They weren’t lying!

 photo 2016-06-01 17.26.38_zpsgqsyavao.jpgIt’s hard to believe that four years of university are over and done with. Grades have been confirmed, graduation gowns ordered, and my house is pretty much all packed up and ready for me to leave. Whilst I’m quietly relieved that the hardwork is over, whilst I’m loving being able to read actual books again, I’m also struggling a bit a lot. It’s finally sunken in that I’ll no longer live with my friends, that there won’t be any more of the late-night girly chats. I’ll miss moaning about coursework deadlines, I’ll probably even miss my Friday-night train journeys up to W. Yes, I’m super excited to move in with him. Yes, I’m thrilled to be starting my dream job. But I don’t feel quite ready to let go of university, and right now, sitting at home, I feel a little lost.

That said, we finished off university in the most perfect way. A big BBQ (complete with cute bunting – oh so Pinterest!), dressing up for the summer “ball”, sunning ourselves for a few days in France.

 photo 2016-06-04 15.00.18_zpss3jxl8sy.jpg photo 2016-06-04 15.00.28_zps95hapdpu.jpgWith our final year house having a decent-sized garden and a massive conservatory, since paying the deposit we’d be planning a BBQ to end all BBQs for our final weekend. Armed with a fridge-full of burgers, a whole lot of Pimms and multiple disposable BBQs, we cooked up a storm. Tortilla chips and dips kept guests happy, soaking up the first batch of Pimms. Potato wedges and couscous salad bulked things up, peri-peri chicken drumsticks went down a storm. We may have slightly over-catered, but we weren’t complaining when the 2am munchies hit and there was plenty of garlic bread left!

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The day of our BBQ also coincided with Kent’s Summer Ball – or rather the Party in the Car Park. I’ll be doing a full(er) post on my outfit soon as I LOVED my dress (once I’d tweaked it – the slit was so high it showed off rather more than I was comfortable. Including my belly button… ) but I will say we had a wonderful night. Us girls looked fabulous, our men looked smart, and of course we made the most of our outfits by making the bumper cars our first port of call!

It’s not all been fun, games and lying in the sun however. Packing up a house, particularly one which holds such good memories, is probably one of the most depressing things I’ve done. And that’s before we get started on all the cleaning… Luckily this year I’ve had help on hand to make it that little bit easier.

 photo 2016-06-05 13.05.21_zpslbnlv4fn.jpg photo 2016-06-05 13.05.30_zpsyuazohgg.jpgI wrote a post a while ago on getting your rental deposit back, and I’ve been following my own advice over the last few weeks. When Oven Pride got in touch to send me over their signature oven cleaner, I jumped at the chance. Call me weird, but cleaning an oven is probably my favourite part. Mainly because I don’t do it regularly, so when I do do it, I can see a difference. Whilst I haven’t used it yet (I’m waiting until the last minute!) it’s the brand I used way back in first year. And if it could clean that cooker, it could clean anything! I’m tempted to do a before-and-after once it’s done, if I can brave showing anyone just what it’s currently like without a clean! I’ve always considered oven and fridge cleaning to be one of the most important jobs when leaving a rental property – making an effort to tackle the ‘big’ things shows that you do care about the property – and these are always the more costly items for agents to sort out themselves. Fingers crossed we get all our deposit back – it’s earmarked for holiday money!

 photo 2016-05-24 14.52.33_zpsbi5fck6l.jpg photo 2016-05-24 14.52.00_zps1g6mp42m.jpg photo 2016-05-24 14.52.42_zps9zjpurcx.jpgAnd then there’s hoovering. A house of three girls should come with a hazard warning – there’s a LOT of hair shedding going on! The provided hoover just isn’t quite up to the job, so when Dirt Devil offered to send me their Stick Vacumn I was pretty relieved! In all honest, a hoover isn’t something I ever expected to be excited about (might as well start sending me slippers and chair lifts now guys, old age is clearly approaching fast!) I do like this one. It’s taking a little getting used to as it’s very top heavy, but it’s powerful, relatively quiet, and tucks away nicely into a cupboard or corner (it’s going to be ideal when we find a flat in London!).

Whilst the past few weeks have been taken up with cleaning, tidying, packing and sorting, there’s been fun, lots of food and a whole lot of laughter. There’s also been huge celebrations – finding out I’m graduating with First Class Honours bought me to tears last week, and there’s been plenty of champagne consumed since!

How did you celebrate leaving university? Do you have any tips for making sure you get all your rental deposit back?

University: The End

It feels like only a few short weeks ago that I trailed around Wilkinsons buying pretty much the whole store. It doesn’t feel like too long ago that I was waving goodbye to my parents at the door of my first university halls. It seems like yesterday I was ringing my mum moaning about the state of the kitchen, that I was getting excited about moving in with friends, that I was stressing about silly first year exams.

 photo 2016-02-05 22.25.02_zpsomq5lpev.jpgAnd now I’m done. Finished. Just like that, university is over.

I’m not too sure that it’s fully sunken in yet.

 photo 2015-12-08 12.03.46_zps7ankjz1y.jpgThere’s been times I have regretted coming to university, particularly throughout final year. When I’ve come off the phone in tears from another rejection-at-final-stage, when I was facing graduating without a job. When I couldn’t get my head around a topic, when I sat in front of a past exam paper and literally couldn’t attempt more than a single question. I was honestly ready to give it all up. If someone had given me a ‘get out’ card, I would have taken it like a shot. Yet I pushed through. I got there. I’ll know whether it was worth it on results day in a few weeks, but right now I’m just proud for actually finishing.

 photo 12565358_10153494959529541_4248232404245365900_n_zpszpriqbcz.jpg photo 12928260_10208990115207633_3061852101778561310_n_zpsy8kwrykq.jpg photo 2016-02-14 15.21.08_zpsgdvanwj9.jpgAnd despite those difficulties, there’s been far more good times. The best friends I’ve made for life, the girls who will stand alongside my sister as my bridesmaids. My placement year, and the confidence it gave me. Surviving long distance, and coming out with a wonderful relationship, stronger than I could have wished for. The fact that I can ‘do’ maths. The dream job I have finally secured for September.

I may not have been a conventional student, with my love-hate relationship with alcohol, my positive dislike of going ‘out out’ and my preference for an early night with a good book and a cuppa. But I wouldn’t have changed my university experience for the world. I’m excited for what the next few years bring, but right now I’m holding on. Holding on to living with my girls, holding on to living in Canterbury. It’s gone far too quickly.

What did you feel upon leaving university?

University: Getting A Grad Job

Now, I might not be the best person to write about this, so the simple reason that I don’t have a graduate role lined up. However I’ve been through the application process (both for my placement and for a grad role), and I’m still actively looking for something – so maybe I’m the ‘realistic’ person to talk about graduate employment. I definitely know more people without a job than with one at this point in the year!
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Grad Schemes or Job

I know for the area I’m going to get into (note the determination in that sentence!) the majority of grad schemes are now closed. That’s probably not the case for most industries, and whilst I feel like it should be stressing me out, I’m well aware that there are plenty of graduate-level jobs out there. They might not come with quite as fancy training packages, but they will throw you in the deep end, get you working, and aren’t an option to dismiss.

There are so many sites and companies out there to help graduates find jobs. Spotlight Recruitment is a website specialising in marketing careers. Not my industry I must admit, but I have browsed the site to see what they’ve got – I love that you can narrow down your search by region. Covering categories such as digital marketing, communications and e-commerce, it’s a really easy to use site and has useful tips like on selling yourself in interviews, what to include on a CV (I wrote my own guide here) – all pretty much essential information.

Applications or Recruiter

No doubt about it, job applications can be stressful, long-winded, frustrating. They can involve getting the perfect CV, then answering endless competency questions, completing online tests. Then there’s various interview stages; telephone, face-to-face, assessment centres… trust me, if you get through all of these, get told you passed every stage with flying colours and still don’t get offered the job, it’s pretty damn soul destroying.

Recently I’ve had the pleasure of dealing with some absolutely lovely recruiters. Whilst no, I don’t have a job yet, they’ve offered help and guidance as to how to hone my CV, I’ve had a few very positive interviews, and the stress and time consuming part of the application is nicely reduced.
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Application Hints & Tips

I’ve written quite a few guides to careers and getting a job before (ironic, huh?!) – but I think the biggest key is to be prepared. Make sure you know what the job entails and how your experience and aspirations relate to it, spend a lot of time researching the company. I would also try and think of a few questions you want to ask – it’s always something you have the opportunity to do, and the right questions give such a good impression and show you’re super interested in the company. But my biggest tip of all? If you do get a rejection, no matter how dreadful it makes you feel, always ask for feedback. Then get your chin up, smile and do 10x better in the next one.

How do you find the job-hunting process? Any tips to share?

Lifestyle: The Importance of Taking Time Out

These last few weeks have been busy. Super busy. Some days I’ve been in the library between 9-5, leaving only for lectures, before returning after dinner to cram a few more hours in. Nothing is as soul-destroying as watching a gorgeously sunny day whilst you’re trapped at a desk – and knowing that you’ve got weeks ahead of the same thing. Whilst I do try to switch up where I work, it’s just a simple fact that until the end of May, I will be spending more time in the library than I do at home.

 photo 2016-03-30 11.48.44_zps3onl6v7k.jpgThat said, I know (perhaps more than anyone!) the benefits of taking some time off to relax.

In my second year I revised so hard, so continuously, that I gave myself severe RSI. I was physically unable to hold a pen three days before my first exam and, whilst intense physio and painkillers meant I got through, I have no doubt it impacted my grades. There was an exam I was in tears from pain, and yep, it was my worst mark.

But it’s not just physical health that improves from taking time out.

 photo 2015-12-08 12.03.46_zpsmfc6fekb.jpg photo University Goals1_zps3a31ucry.jpgAfter a couple of nights spent tossing and turning, after days spent in the silent section of the library left my voice feeling squeaky whenever I used it, after hours spent looking at a screen, peering at numbers, tapping away at my calculator, scribbling formula, I’d had enough. I was tired, grumpy, demotivated and stressed. No-one can work solidly all-day, every-day for much longer than a few weeks, and I’d hit my wall.

If I’d have had my way, I’d have just treated myself to a long shower and a cuppa in bed, before cracking on with the library-routine. W however had other ideas, and forced me into the car in the direction of the seaside. A few hours in the sun, a good long stroll, talking about something other than mortality (yep, hiiii student actuary!), it all did me the world of good. My shoulders relaxed from the tension I hadn’t noticed was there. I spent longer outdoors than I had in total throughout the previous week. I took time to eat my lunch, not bolting it down whilst reading notes. I browsed shops without thinking about what I *should* be doing.

 photo 2016-03-30 12.34.38_zpseju3r2ms.jpg photo 2016-03-30 12.34.06_zps8whsytrx.jpgFor the first night in a while, I slept properly. I woke up feeling like I’d actually slept.

And the next day, sat back in the silent section, I was twice as productive as I’d been before. The questions I’d been struggling with made so much more sense, my mind was clearer, I was able to think things through more easily. My work didn’t suffer from taking 8 or so hours off, I didn’t find myself frantically rushing to get things done.

 photo 2016-03-23 10.06.04_zpsxx9xnkk5.jpg photo 2016-03-23 10.05.39_zpsupkom4jr.jpgSince that day, I’ve made far more of an effect to take some time out. I’ll make myself a yummy egg-related breakfast. I’ll come home and cook myself a nice dinner, rather than reheat a meal I’d batch-cooked. I’ll put my work away and watch some TV on my lunch break. I’ll take a wander round campus on a particularly nice day. I might not be working 24/7, but the work I’m getting done is a whole lot more productive.

What do you do to take some time away from the stressful things in life?

University: Coping with Exam Stress

Now it’s March, all of a sudden exams seem an awful lot closer than they did this time last week. Things are getting serious, and as it’s final year there’s no fixing any mistakes made. I’m one of those people who gets hugely stressed around exam time, I pretty much live off adrenaline – and get ill 30 minutes after my last exam ends (true story).

 photo Revision Stress_zpsri2cebsk.jpgWhen PasTest offered to send over their top tips for beat exam stress, I was intrigued as to what they’d come up with. Turns out there’s some good advice here!

The trials and tribulations of everyday life can get to anyone, but when you factor in revising for your exams it can be the straw that broke the camel’s back. If you’re finding yourself getting increasingly stressed about your upcoming exams, try these tips for handling exam stress:

Look After Yourself

Stress manifests itself in various ways – from feeling anxious to random outbursts of anger – and when the pressure is on it helps to remember a few bits of advice to ensure your head remains in the game.

  • Look after yourself and maintain a decent work/life balance
  • Make sure you have a balanced diet
  • Exercise can be a great way of switching off from the pressures of revision and allows you to blow off steam. If you’re not a gym-bunny then a head-clearing walk will suffice
  • Socialise with friends who aren’t on the same course as you – hanging out with other students can sometimes cause more panic as you’re guaranteed to end up talking about revision
  • Don’t overdo the socialising as you don’t want to lose a day of precious revision to a hangover!

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Last Minute Revision

If we were all ideal students, there would be no such thing as last minute revision and everyone would be prepared well in advance. So if you’re a last minute reviser, how do you handle the stress and dread? Your first answer might be ‘CAFFEINE!’ but if you overdo this it can have the knock-on effect of making you even more anxious and reduce your productivity as a result. Far better to choose other last minute cram-revision methods…

PasTest offer a variety of revision aids each suited to how well you personally respond to learning – there are vLectures, paper lectures, past exam papers, and even podcasts that you can listen to to help you. Perfect for cramming.

Give A Past Paper A Go

Whether you’re an auditory learner or a visual learner, the proof is in the pudding which is why having a go at a past exam paper is great idea – this can provide a real morale boost when you’re stressing over whether you’ve revised enough or on the flipside can point you towards what you need to revise some more about.

Don’t Turn Up Late!

Though you might be stressing and panicking about the exam, this feeling will be nothing in comparison to how you feel if you’re running late for it. Not only is showing up late embarrassing but getting yourself in a fluster before even sitting down will have a massive impact on how well you perform during the day. Plan your arrival thoroughly and make sure to check the traffic before setting off for any accidents that might cause delay.

If you find your stress level is above what you’ve normally experienced, remember there are options available – whether you visit your student support service or GP or just have a quiet chat with friends and family they can provide help and assistance.

 photo Exam Stress_zpsxlvngalo.pngI’m a big advocate of looking after yourself, particularly around exam season. I also have a rule of a ‘treat’ meal, preferably something vegetarian (I had food poisoning the night before a GCSE exam once, so eating meat is something which stresses me out around exam times) the evening prior to an exam. The best tip for me here is to definitely try past papers – it gets you both learning the material and familiar with the exam layout and style of question. Kills multiple birds with one stone I guess!

*Sponsored post in associated with PasTest, however all opinions are my own as always!

Do you suffer from exam stress? How do you tend to deal with it?

University: Getting Organised for Exams

Now in my final term of lectures (sob) I can finally say I’ve worked out what works for me in terms of organisation. And also what really, really doesn’t. It’s taken years of trial and error but I think I’ve cracked it – a combination of organisation that keeps me on track, but doesn’t eat into precious study time. I’m pretty sure, given how my pre-Christmas assessments went, that my revision technique is working out pretty well too. Though I’ll never agree with negative marking…
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Keep Lists

I seriously don’t think I could live without a good to-do list! I like to list out big things – such as examinable content for a module. This is something I started doing wayyyy back in AS levels, going through the specification and ticking bits off as I went – it’s an exam technique that could work for all stages (so to those doing your GCSE’s, get on it!) and it’s super useful. I also like to write daily to-do lists. Seeing what I want to achieve each day really motivates me to get on and do it. And yes, I’m that person who puts ‘clean teeth’ on my lists. We gotta start somewhere!
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Print

I don’t know about you, but I get seriously distracted the minute I open up my laptop. I just absolutely cannot practise exam questions by just having the paper open on screen. Before I know it I’ll have 4 Facebook conversations going, I’ll be debating on Twitter and scrolling through my Bloglovin’ feed at an alarming rate. For me it’s all about making sure I’ve got hard copies to hand.

All this printing can get expensive (and annoying – how many times have you been halfway through printing an important bit of coursework when your ink dries up?!) – but luckily Epsom is on hand to (hopefully) change all that. I have to admit I was skeptical when they sent me a cartridge-less printer*, where you should only have to top up the ink once during your degree. Obviously I can’t test the latter claim as that would be a very long review process (plus, y’know, I’m almost finished my degree!) but I have noticed that the ink seems to be lasting better than previous printers. I managed to print a good 20 exam papers and genuinely can’t tell whether the ink level has dropped (should have drawn a line on!). That’s almost the biggest bonus of this printer; you can see the ink levels as you go. No more getting halfway through a document and realising you have zilch! It’s also quiet (no waking up housemates when you’re the one who likes to get up early) and it’s no horrendously bulky or unattractive. I mean, it’s a printer, but as far as they go it doesn’t look tooooo bad. I’d be fine with not hiding it away in a cupboard (the same cannot be said for W’s 3D printer…).

Timetable

Like with the lists, I just like having my time planned out. This is where I’ve changed though! Before I would make pretty revision timetables, with every hour accounted for. Now I’m a bit less prescriptive. I give myself a day where I concentrate on each module – which works now at degree level because each has enough different topics and ‘bits’ so I don’t get bored. Perhaps not the best idea for A-Levels but for me, it works.
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Prep

I like to take a few hours around this time of year to work out what stationery I need to get me through the rest of the year. Flashcards always tend to sell out everywhere come May, I always run out of black pens and paper, so I bulk-buy them now. Keen? Definitely. But it makes me feel much more prepared!

Take Time Out

Trust me, when I’ve got a list with a hundred different bits on, I know that the last thing I want to do is give myself a break. I’m actually really bad at taking time out to relax but when I do I definitely notice the difference. I come back more energised and motivated, and often looking at things with a clearer head makes them seem so much simpler. In the run up to my final year exams I’ll definitely be making a little more time for myself…
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Look After Yourself

And that brings me onto my next point: it’s really important to take care of yourself. Whether it’s making sure you get enough sleep, three good meals or plenty of water, it all makes a difference. You will never do your best in exams if you aren’t well, so these little things can really boost your performance.

 photo Getting Organised for Exams4_zpsfidsmn1s.jpg photo Getting Organised for Exams1_zpsbn8ljcrd.jpgAnd so that’s it, the little bits I’m already doing in my prep for exams. Yes, they might be many months away, but by getting this out of the way now I’ll be all set to start serious revision come Easter.

How do you prep for exams? Do you start early or are you a crammer?

 

University: Goals for Final Year

Despite being a term in, I’ve realised that I’ve not really set myself too many goals for the remainder of university. Whilst I have already given myself plenty of New Years Resolutions to work on, I reckon I can set myself a few university specific targets too. Nothing like aiming high!
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Graduate, Achieving The Best Result I Can

Up until last year I was fixated on the idea of getting a First. Don’t get me wrong, I’d still love one, and I know damn well I’ll still be disappointed if I don’t get one – BUT I’m not going to kill myself trying. I have very nearly done some lasting damage to my arm by writing too much, for too long, in the wrong position. I’ve had sleepless nights thinking about an assignment question, I dream about spreadsheets. Whilst I’m going to push myself to do my best, I’m not going to let it be detrimental to my health.

Make the Most of Living with my Best Friends

Not much I can say about this one! I’m dreading the summer when we pack up for the last time as it will be a definite ‘not living together again’ – though I know for sure we’ll be staying in regular contact! Having a gorgeous room, lovely house and the best housemates has so far made final year the best year!

Budget Properly

Whilst I do tend to keep control over my (sparse) finances I want to be doubly careful over the next few months. I’ll hopefully try and write (AND stick to and update!) a proper plan, and it will definitely mean no more sneaky New Look purchases…

Do my Physio Exercises Daily

I was really good at these up until mid-December, but then life got in the way and I’ve found myself sitting down to work without exercising, then an hour later wondering why I’m so stiff and in so much pain. I’m meant to do a couple of exercises morning, night and during the way too – I normally do the morning ones, so now it’s time to up my game a little.
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Keep on Top of Revision Notes Before Revising

I think this was my biggest downfall in second year; not having revision notes even started before Easter. This year I’ve been a lot more on top of it; with two ‘courseworks’ in exam-conditions during my last week of term for one module I managed to get those notes all done and dusted, I’ve done two modules worth so far over the Christmas break, and I’m planning on getting ahead with another module before we start it next week. Perhaps a little keen, but whilst I’m feeling productive why not?!

Cook Something New Once a Fortnight

I often find myself getting into a rut with meals and snacks at university. I have my regular meals which I batch-cook and tend to rely on, I eat far too much carbonara, I stick to pretty much the same baked goods (Nutella Banana Muffins anyone?!). I want to challenge myself to cook a few new bits and pieces over the next few months, I really fancy trying to make a tagine.

I’m also determined to come up with some more healthy snack ideas and recipes. All too often I find myself with a handful of biscuits (and when your boyfriend fiancé demands you keep them in the cupboard on medical grounds it’s not an easy habit to break!). I got a few healthy-eating cookbooks for Christmas so I’m hoping there’s a bit of inspiration there!

Write Some University Fashion Posts

I’m really happy with some of the outfits I’ve been wearing on a more day-to-day basis for uni over the last few months, and I’m also pretty chuffed with my figure at the moment (I went and tried on a certain kind of dress last weekend and was pleasantly surprised by how good I looked – it’s the first time I’ve felt so confident about myself!) so I really should take the plunge and do some outfit posts more regularly.

 photo University Goals2_zpsrujei6ip.jpgSo, some typical ‘study hard’ goals, but also some bits that are more personal, but that I really want to achieve before I finish university and end up wearing a suit each day!

Do you have any goals for the next few months? Any advice for final year?!

University: Final Year So Far

My recent (and rather stressed) posts may have hinted at it, but I’m currently battling my way through final year of (though I do say it myself!) a bloody hard degree. The few months since September have been some of the busiest and stressful of my life, but equally some of the best. It’s bittersweet really – I’m torn between being fully done with studying and not wanting to leave!

 photo Final Year_zpsnvlwtx6e.jpgI’ve come to realise that attending university and applying for jobs is a lot tougher than I first imagined. I know realistically I’ve actually done very well in my job applications, but it’s still disheartening to end up being rejected at final stages, especially when every single other interviewee had already graduated. My goal is to still have a job lined up before I finish university, but equally I’m beginning to slow down applications, concentrate more on uni work and try and relax a bit more. Easier said than done though – give me until tomorrow and I’ll be stressing all over again!

Obviously with all these applications there ends up being a few rejections. I’m not ashamed to admit there have been many times I’ve been in tears on the phone to W, though somehow I haven’t yet opened an email and cried in public. Time will tell…

 photo 2015-12-08 12.03.46_zps7ankjz1y.jpgThen there’s the actual studying, what’s supposedly the important bit. And that’s going quite well. It took me a while to remember how to do things admittedly (the downside of a years placement!), but the work ethic I gained over last year has definitely helped. Settling my alarm for 6am and starting work early is not something I would have done in second year! I’ve found final year has brought a lot more “work through this in your own time”, a lot more reading for some modules (which as a maths student is really strange!). It’s also brought a lot of work for the last week of term – I’m that person who doesn’t finish assessments until midday this coming Friday, that person who is still ploughing through the work when I should be thinking about Christmas.

My degree is so cheery… #mortality #studying #notes #uni #universitylife #finalyear

A photo posted by Chloe Ellen (@ninegrandstudent) on

Oh, and it’s brought a lot more cheery topics too – with a whole module dedicated to estimating future lifestyle and mortality rates…

 photo University Friends_zpshmypdash.jpgHowever final year has also meant living with some of the loveliest friends ever. We’ve gone back to having house Sunday dinners, film nights, late night trips to ASDA to buy snacks. Having been so stressed I’ve seen just how important my friends are to me, whether it’s W on the end of the phone to hear me rant and cry, or my housemates to make me laugh. So whilst I can’t wait for the stress of studying to be all over, I’m dreading the day in the summer where we pack up and leave. One minute I can’t wait for university to be over, the next I’m praying for time to slow down!

How did you find final year? Were you torn between wanting studying to be finished but not wanting to leave?