Architecture, Course, Halls, Home, Reflection

Looking Back: First Year

Thinking back to this time last year, I was finishing off my A levels and awaiting results, working a bit and spending time with family and friends. I had no idea what my first year of University would be like, and to be honest I don’t think I could have predicted it. I had a year of ups and downs, at some points I was so happy and wouldn’t have changed anything, at other times I wanted nothing more than to be at home curled up in my own bed. Realistically I chose to come to Portsmouth for completely the wrong reasons, but now I’m looking back, I wouldn’t change anything.

The best thing about this year is the people I’ve met. Yes, you go to University to get a degree, but it’s a well known saying that the friends you make at Uni are friends for life. One of the things I loved about Halls was that I met people and became great friends with the type of people I wouldn’t have met otherwise, due to having different interests and tastes, and living hundreds of miles apart! Despite all that, by the end of the year flat A.1.1 and A.1.2 of James Watson became like a family to me, probably because we are all completely individual, which meant we all had something special to add to the group. Saying that, I didn’t necessarily like living with them ALL the time, only because I have a slight OCD when it comes to kitchen cleanliness, and it turns out that most boys don’t really enjoy washing up! (or wiping surfaces, or the oven, or even moving their dirty plates from the side)

Aside from the friends I made in Halls, I also made some really great friends on my course (two of who I’m living with next year). I met loads of people from all over the world, which is great because you end up learning about different cultures and religions, and everyone has something different to add to one big idea.

After many ups and downs of this year – mainly doubting my own abilities and choices, seeing my results has made me realise that I CAN do it and I will do well. Not fulfilling my own potential has always been a fear of mine. However, I now know that all the effort and stress and tears that I put into my work has actually paid off. I went through the year not really knowing what kind of level I was working at, which I found incredibly frustrating as I had no idea whether what I was doing was enough. I’m hoping though that this year has built me a platform on which to raise during my second year. I think also that living in a house with two girls on my course will mean we are all there to support one another and make each other do our coursework! (or just distract each other even more)

In hindsight, I did choose Portsmouth for the wrong reasons, and there’s been times in the year where I have missed home, but luckily for me, I only live two hours away – possibly the only sensible reason I did choose Pompey. However, I’m happy it’s where I ended up. I’ve made friends for life and finished my first year with really good results. What’s not to be happy about?



Course, Other University Factors


So I’m currently on a Placement year, meaning I have to achieve 48 weeks working in a section of the Hospitality Industry. Oh as well as keeping up with my coursework on it which becomes difficult when you start working full time.
The thing is, I’m not sure if its worth it. When I decided to take on this sandwich course, I believed it would be excellent on my CV and help when I got out into the World of work. However now I’m here, I’ve realised that my placement is the World of Work, so going back to uni next year is only to be quite a challenge.
On top of that it was really difficult to find any placements, as I’m sure your aware the job market is a bit small at the moment and even graduates are having issues finding anywhere to work, never mind in something you want to do! So I’ve ended up in a placement which isn’t really benefitting me and wasting another year of my life.
Maybe I should have thought about this beforehand. But Id love to hear what others feel about Placement years, so feel free to leave your comments 🙂

Free time, Island Experience, Nightlife, The city, Travels

Let the (productive) Summer begin!

It’s nearly been one whole month since my last ever Second Year exam, and I still don’t feel I’ve fully recovered! Apart from spending some time with friends and family, I’ve mainly been composing myself, mentally and physically, from all the exciting (and sometimes stressful) events which have taken place in my Second Year. There always seemed to be so much happening all at once – but then, that’s life, I suppose!

As I do on any break, I’ve been enjoying a few lie-ins, and spending days with no particular goal in mind. If I’m honest, it’s the first time in a long while I’ve allowed myself to relax – probably because I’m feeling very happy and secure with my degree, and also that it has dawned on me how very little time there is before I must once again re-enter the scary world of work!

Last summer, I must admit I found myself a little bored at times. This year, however, I’m already feeling the time will go by quicker than I would like, which in a strange way is quite a nice thing. I know friends who are staying in Portsmouth, I have some great family holidays planned, I have an Xbox360 on which I can duel fearsome aliens in the distant future, and I have a feeling I should probably start looking into that dissertation thingy! So it’s fair to say I shouldn’t be bored over the next couple of months.

I’ve got my results back from this year, and I’m ecstatic that I am on my way to a First class degree. It’s been a very fun, and productive, Second Year. This should continue into a very fun summer break. And yeah, I’ll try and be a bit productive as well!

Course, Uni Life

Experiencing Work Experience

It was early on a Monday morning, very early in fact (for me at least). I was wearing the best purple shirt and matching tie that Sainsbury’s had on sale, my fanciest black trousers and some black shoes I stole from my dad because I don’t actually own a pair myself. On my back was my backpack filled with pens, a notepad and a packed lunch that I had made (quite badly I would find out later) and my head and stomach were filled with nerves and butterflies that wouldn’t stop moving around no matter how many deep breaths I took or calm oceans I pictured. I made my way up to the office of the primary school I had just entered and caught the eye of one of the hard-at-work office staff there. “Er… Hi.” I mumbled. “I’m supposed to be doing some volunteer work here I think?”

Oh yeah. I’m really good at first impressions.

Luckily, they knew I was coming and were prepared for an awkward, student-type arriving for two weeks of work experience in a primary school classroom.

What a crazy two weeks it was. I was in a new classroom every day. I had a new teacher and a new class to work with ranging from reception classes (4-5 year olds) to year 5 classes (9 – 10 year olds). I had a veritable cornucopia of jobs: Listening to the children read, helping them with classwork, teaching basic weaving, teaching them how to make paper plate frisbees (which they loved) and a wide variety of other things. I think the most interesting was teaching a few children how to garden, especially as I have no idea how to do that! (You just chuck the seeds in some soil, sprinkle some water on occasionally and hope for the best right? Obviously I phrased it better when telling the pupils…)

When I initially heard the words ‘work experience’, I will admit I pulled a face. Experience work? Work… without pay? Just for experience? Who on earth would do that!?

But after doing the whole worky experiencey thing, I can now say it is a good idea. I know many people who have taken a course with their ‘future job’ in mind, only to get a job and find out that they actually don’t find it as interesting as they hoped. In fact, they hated it and said they felt they wasted their degree. This work experience gave me the opportunity to find out what goes on in a primary classroom, what it is like to be a teacher, what responsibilities I would have and most importantly, if I want to follow this career path in the future. Also, working with the ICT specialist in the school has given me ideas to apply my current degree to my future career. Who doesn’t love educational games? Most people it turns out.  I’m going to try and make some good ones!

So I guess what I’m trying to say is, don’t be afraid to test the waters. Volunteer a bit. Find your feet. I know everyone is pressuring you to get a job, earn lots of money and stuff like that, but even if you get a job which earns lots of money, if you aren’t happy then what is the point?

Course, Exams, Free time, Future, Job hunting

Job Hunting is a real pain in the neck.

First of all, apologies for not being very active here.

Since my last post, what my life mainly consisted of was revision. And more revision, then a couple of exams and A LOT of stress. Quite honestly, I don’t remember ever being this stressed over anything! But the 28th of May marked the day of my last exam, which essentially meant end of my official student duty at the University of Portsmouth. Scary, huh?

I bet most of you just answered “meh, not really” in your student heads. But trust me, it is and you will only begin to understand it when you get to where I am right now. I feel like I am not ready to leave University yet… I have come to love my life here in Portsmouth; I feel like there’s still a lot to do, a lot to be discovered. Unfortunately, everything ends eventually and this is my cue to man up and move on.

I have previously mentioned that I applied for a Master’s course at King’s College, but unfortunately I did not get in. I am not giving up on this, however this means that I will have to find something else to do over the next year or so. So I started job hunting…

And trust me when I say this, I am already tired of this! It’s hard and discouraging. You have to make sure that the type of job you’re going for is really what you are capable of, and that you fit the person specification. So that’s what I’ve been doing, going through the person specs, getting more excited with every single point mentioned because I believe I fit in… until I get to the end, where it says “Essentials – car owner and driver”. I think it goes without saying that I don’t drive… And that, unfortunately, is my biggest disadvantage! In my current situation the experience I have is meaningless if I don’t fulfil this particular requirement.

In Year 2 I completed a module called Occupational Choice for Psychology Students, and it’s main aim was to provide us with information about what will be required of us once we leave University and choose a psychology related career path. There was a lot of talk about how important experience is (obviously) but nothing about the ability to drive! If I were told about this then, I guess I would have had a driving licence by now…Oh well, this is currently item number 1 on my to do list for when I get a job. But I need to get it first…

And this is kind of how I feel right about now…


But we’ll see how it goes…