Course, Free time

Second year is tough

I knew second year wouldn’t be as easy as the first, but I didn’t realise how busy I’d be! I feel really bad for neglecting this blog lately, but the amount of work I had to go through consumed all my free time.

Practicals.

Doesn’t seem like a lot, since it’s the only pieces of work we do during a semester, one after another. But because the material got more serious, this is actually taking ages and, most importantly, is taking all the joy out of studying psychology. It’s the reports, discussions, literature reviews, ethics forms that really make me hate it. And it doesn’t come easy to say this because psychology is the only thing I want to do after I leave university, but it’s times like these when it really gets to me and affects my motivation.

Research based learning.

Well, my work is done here, although it did not go as smoothly as anticipated. Even, well, bribing people with Haribos didn’t do the trick. Hopefully my next task will turn out better.

 

But today was a better day. All my current assignments are handed in, next ones are not due until May, so I can actually rest a bit now. And it feels good. Did I mention that the weather makes it all so much better? 🙂 I feel some beach time is much needed.

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Course, Free time, The Galleon

Productive procrastinating.

I’m not sure how I managed it, but I actually procrastinated in a productive way. I know I wasn’t writing my essay that’s due in next Wednesday but I did apply to be a Student Marketing Assistant next year and finished off the article I was writing for the NUS web site.

Basically, the editor of The Galleon got an e-mail from someone who works for the NUS web site saying they were revamping their web site and needed new writers for it. I applied and they obviously liked the work I’d sent them as I got accepted straight away. My first article was a top 5 book to film adaptations so I decided to pick films that not everyone has heard of, avoiding the obvious choices like Fight Club (or at least that’s what everyone on my Facebook chose). It’s pretty cool that I’ve got something else to put on my CV and, more importantly, it feels pretty good that another person thinks my work’s good enough for publication. Apparently the web site gets a lot of views so it’ll be cool to get my writing out to a wider audience as well.

The Student Marketing Assistant position seems pretty cool and I really hope I get to do it as I think I’d be pretty good at it, so fingers crossed!

Other than that the weeks seem to be flying by at the minute and the list of things I need to do is ever-increasing. I miss first year! How I long for guilt free lazy days (and grades that didn’t really matter too much)! I also just had to ask my Dad for some extra money as our gas and electricity bills arrived and they were not pretty! How I miss Halls!

I’m going to see Noah and The Whale at the Guildhall on Sunday (and I’m reviewing it – it’s not all fun and games you know! I have to earn my freebies.) I’ve seen them a couple of times before and it’s always been awesome so hopefully it’ll be a good show.

Other than that, I can’t believe how quickly Easter’s come around! I’ll be in third year before I know it, eek!

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Free time, The city

A Look Back …

Portsmouth is a beautiful city, especially when the sun is shining. The best place to be on those sunny days is Southsea common or the sea front. I went there today with my flat mate, Sian and we spoke about the last six months. Its interesting to see how much we have changed as people and how much our lives have adapted in such a short space of time.

I have developed as a person by being here, in confidence and experience. Life will throw many obstacles at you but its important to know, there is always a way around them.  In the last 6 months, I have lived with people I never knew before, started a university course, joined Show Choir, found amazing friends and coursemates, secured my first house and moved away from home!

But there is still so much more I want to do! I feel like I’m not doing enough in my life and that Ive become a ‘lazy student’. But I am very lucky to even be able to say that. I live in a beautiful city, surrounded by amazing people and right now, Im exactly where Im meant to be. Can you say the same?  

 

 

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Course

University? Get the facts.

It won’t be news to you that University tuition fees have gone up, and fees of £6,000+ a year for UK students seem daunting. That’s why I would really recommend that you are sure University is the right choice before joining – taking a gap year in order to make an informed decision is surely better than leaping in without thinking it over. I’ve found that there is a lot you can get out of Uni if you have a clear view of what you want to achieve. The financial cost is not the only thing to consider when making such a decision.

Although many are not happy with the new fees, remember that no one is asked to pay up-front. So, for anyone looking to come to University, please find out about the new fees system and the loans, grants and bursaries that are available. Below I’ve listed a few websites which helped me get the facts – I hope they might help you. The more you know, the better informed your decision will be.

MoneySavingExpert.com has a really good guide on the new university fees system (click here) as well as great info on the best student bank accounts and all manner of other financial info.

DirectGov – check out the Higher Education page.

UniStats allows you to compare student satisfaction rates on different courses at different universities (click here).

Finally, if you think you’ve found a good course at a University, get in contact with the department to make further enquiries. It’s important that you know what to expect from your course – how it will be examined (essays or exams), the style of learning (discussion seminars, lab sessions, lectures)  and the number of contact hours per week. And at the end of the day, remember that it’s your choice (not) to go!

(PS. Please remember that I’m not responsible for the content/accuracy of the websites suggested above. Do as much research as you can, and good luck with your decision!)

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Course, Free time, Uni services

It’s a bit personal but…

I feel if I’m supposed to be giving people a “real” representation of uni life I can’t just talk about the good things all the time. Sometimes there’s a lot of stress involved in a degree course, and relationships (both romantic and platonic) can really take their toll on you. Falling out with a friend or breaking up with your boyfriend/girlfriend can seem a lot harder when you either live with them or can’t run home to your Mum for a hug.

Anyway, when times are hard and you feel like everything’s getting to you, or you just want a chat, the university has a great counselling service for you to take advantage of. For those of you who don’t want to carry out counselling face to face, there’s the e-counselling option as well, where you speak to a counsellor via email.

Recently, I had about 6 weeks of E-counselling as I felt like I needed someone to talk to. I have great friends and a lovely boyfriend but sometimes you just need that impartial voice to talk through things with. I received one e-mail a week and was able to spend about an hour on my reply each time. It was really helpful and, rather than letting a feeling escalate and become worse than it was, I “nipped it in the bud” and feel great.

There are also a lot of workshops available too. (In fact, I noticed my fellow blogger Blake went to the Mindfulness one – I’m sorry I missed out!) You can find some more info here:

http://www.port.ac.uk/departments/studentsupport/counselling/

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Free time, The city

Finally, the sun’s out!

Well at last the weather’s started to perk up a bit and this is the time of year where Portsmouth really comes into its own. I know that Portsmouth gets a lot of grief for not being a very nice place, but living in Southsea is awesome, especially when the sun comes out. Everything just looks so much nicer in the sunlight and the windy, rainy, rough sea is transformed into a sunny seaside. Families go out for the day, old people take their dogs for a walk, and students fill Southsea Common with games of frisbee and BBQs.

I’m pretty sad I’m coming to the end of my second year at university here but I have to say it’s been amazing. I intend on spending the next couple of months making the most of the sunny weather and the beach before I go back to the landlocked town of Oxford.

Yesterday Sam and I went on a bike ride along the coast, from my house in Southsea, up to Eastney and back down to Clarence Pier. We stopped off along the way for little breaks and chats (and for some chips too!) and it was just a lovely way to spend the afternoon before another busy couple of weeks of essays and reading!

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Clubs and societies, Course, Free time

Lost in the Moment

At the beginning of this term, I noticed on the University LookUP page a short course called ‘Mindfulness Meditation’. I’ve always been intrigued by meditation so I signed up and gave it a go! We’ve been meeting once a week for the last 6 weeks and we had the final session yesterday. (It was completely free and run by the University).   The sessions lasted for about an hour and a half a time. There was about 10 of us in the group, and the course leaders lead us through several meditative practices. So I though I’d tell you how it went.

The key concepet was ‘mindfulness’, which means being aware of the present moment. There is no ‘right’ way to meditate as there is nothing to ‘achieve’, except being in the present. A meditation can be as easy as sitting on a chair or lying on the ground, with the eyes closed, and simply breathing.

I enjoyed doing the exercises. By closing my eyes and giving myself the time to be still, I realised how many thoughts were running through my mind and that my thoughts are always filled with ‘to do’ lists.

Overall, the aim of the course was not to achieve enlightenment, but simply to recognise who we are. An emphasis  was placed on acceptance, particularly on accepting that things often aren’t as we’d like them to be. It made me realise how much we dwell on the future and the past, and in doing so forget that ‘now’ is the most important moment. The past is just a memory and the future hasn’t happened.

Being a student can be a particularly stressful time especially as deadlines approach, and so we become lost in thought, constantly planning what we’ll be doing tomorrow. But, just for a moment today, why not take note of what is right in front of you – sights, sounds, smells and feelings – so you can escape (briefly) from ‘autopilot’ mode.

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