Course, Free time

A Clean Desk for a New Semester

I hope you can see the image of my nicely cleaned desk. I thought as we return tomorrow for our new classes it would be nice to have a clean slate, so to speak. You might notice my new plant which I bought today, a ‘Lucky Bamboo’. Apparently, it’s not a bamboo at all, but I liked the look of it. Lets hope it can give me inspiration when I’m stuck in an essay!

So, now that my desk is happy, I feel prepared for tomorrow and I’m really looking forward to it.

(As a disclaimer, I’ll add here that from September 2012, the University will have ‘terms’ instead of semesters. So this is technically the last semester ever.)


Course, Exams, Free time

No more exams

Ah, exams are finally over! To be honest, I shouldn’t be complaining because after I handed in all my coursework, I had just over 2 weeks to revise for exams, of which I had 2! But of course it wasn’t as easy as it seemed.

The first exam, Biological Psychology, was a real pain. Although I find the topic very interesting, biology was never my best subject at school, and what it means is that I found it so hard to learn! After all, it’s not common knowledge; you can’t just wing it. I revised, I honestly did, but my mind was blank on the day of the exam. And yes, I panicked. I was convinced I made things up just so I have something to write about. Turns out, the things I thought I made up – I remembered them correctly. So hoping for a pass 🙂

My other exam was Quantitative Research Methods. Seems pretty straight forward, especially because it’s an open book exam but… well, it wasn’t. I really struggled with time, didn’t finish my calcuations as I clearly made a mistake on the way and couldn’t find it when I tried to check my workings out. Although the first part, multiple choice questions, I believe I did well, so it shouldn’t be that bad.

The most important thing is that it’s all over now. It’s time to relax. As both of my housemates also study Psychology, we will be celebrating the end of exams with pizza and Lord of the Rings tonight, which is something we seem to like doing on Wednesday nights 🙂 We will be joined by a friend who lives near by.

I am really looking forward to a lay in tomorrow, and four days of doing nothing.


Surprising Links to the Chancellor

Hey you guys! I was interested to find an email from the University today saying that Sandi Toksvig will be the University’s new Chancellor. Although I don’t know a lot about her, I’ve seen her quite a few times on QI, and you may be familiar with her work as a comedian and writer. What most intrigued me was the following line:

“Ms Toksvig’s links to the University include the donation by her family of their father’s books to the School of Languages and Area Studies which teaches American Studies. The family also donate a Claus Toksvig prize for an American Studies Dissertation.”

Well blimey – that’s my course! Who’d of thought that there’d be a Claus Toksvig award! Maybe I should aim for it…

Clubs and societies, Free time, Pugwash

The Galleon!

Pugwash News is changing its name to The Galleon and I have to say, I like it!

It’s about time the newspaper had a more professional name and was taken a bit more seriously as it’s a seriously good read and a lot of work goes in to it. I really think more people should pick up a copy and check it out, especially as you’ll see super cool reviews, written by me, in there from time to time.

You can read a bit more about the changes here:

Make sure you like The Galleon’s new Facebook page too!


Course, Free time


(I sound like William Wallace…)

So I had my last exam almost a week ago now and it has been so nice to have some time off to relax after all the hard work I did: 3 essays to hand in in one week and an exam to revise for/do did not make a happy Kathryn!

I’d like to say I’ve been reading my books in preparation for next semester but, in all honesty, I’ve actually just been seeing my friends and my boyfriend, having some of the most epic lie-ins you could ever imagine, and reading A LOT of trashy magazines. I really do think I deserve it though and I’m definitely making the most of the freedom before semester two of this year!

I’m a bit sad that in less than 5 months I’ll only have a year of university left but there’s no point dwelling on that at the minute.

In terms of house-hunting (I thought I’d say a little bit about this seeing as others are as well), I’m pretty lucky in that I’m staying in the house I’m in at the minute. Thankfully (apart from the MASSIVE room at the front of the house) all of our rooms are basically the same size and I feel quite at home in my room in “the west wing”, hidden away at the back of upstairs. I love the high ceilings, old wooden doors and the stained glass bird at the front, and I’m glad we don’t have to move. It’s such a shame that one of my housemates is going on a placement year though: we lived together in halls last year as well and I’ll really miss him! 😦

Anyway, good luck with essays and exams to those who still have them and just keep working hard because it’ll all be worth it in the end.

Course, Study

Lessons in Writing Essays

This morning I handed in a piece of coursework, though my head is not feeling so great now, probably due to working till late last night pulling together the bilbliography and double checking it. So, to help those of you who might not yet be so well acquainted with essay hand-ins, I thought I’d put together a few pointers, which I’ve picked up from my own experience.

1) Make sure you know the deadline, how long the essay is meant to be and that you’re actually answering the question

2) Know what books and journal articles you might be required to read

3) Make sure you actually read the right stuff

I must admit I failed on most accounts with this essay. I erroneously believed the essay needed to be a thousand words longer than necessary, although I realised my mistake before much work had been done (I suppose it’s better to overestimate the word count than underestimate it!). I thought I knew which books and journals to read, so I dutifully took out the books about 3 weeks ago and started reading. Then last night (the day before the hand in) as I was making the finishing touches to the essay, I realised that half the books and journals I had read, although very much related to the topic, were not actually those specified by the lecturer, which we were specifically asked to use in the essay! 😦 Suffice to say, this was not a pleasing moment. I think I was able to skim read and incorporate enough of the required material in the essay at the last minute to make it look convincing! One crucial mistake I made was to get confused with two similarly named books on similar topics by the same author.

I could add another point here –

4) Don’t leave it to the very last day (try and finish it early!). But let’s be honest, is that really going to happen?

Let me know any of your coursework related tips in the comments!

Course, Other University Factors


Exams are not fun for anyone and yet most of us have to do them. This week I am lucky enough to have all my exams one after the other, get them out of the way. Well sort of … this week is a nightmare. All I seem to be doing this week, is eating, revising and sleeping, with a couple of exams around the side. Oh and a presentation in the middle of it all along with house hunting –  a whole different kettle of fish. Hence the title of this post!

There is so much going around my head, I’m not sleeping properly anymore. My advice for these times? I guess to take each day as it comes and be prepared for anything.

House hunting is a totally sireal experience. We are currently looking for a 6 bedroom house and have so far seen two. Its difficult to get everyone together and we have left it a bit late so houses are limited, which also means the estate agents are rushing us into dicussions. Then there’s agreeing on the houses and rooms. Location is key for some of us, price affects everyone and room size just brings out each persons selfish side. Its not a pretty ordeal to get through but I’m sure we will eventually find a house we can all agree on and be happy with. I have set up some viewings for today and we have a few more tomorrow. Our aim is to have decided on a house by the end of this week.

Fingers crossed please 😀