Architecture, Course, Halls, Home, Reflection

New House

After nearly 3 weeks of living in a student house, I can’t decide if it’s what I expected or not. I was so, so excited to be living with my two best friends, and I can’t say that feeling has changed, although one thing that has surprised me is how long it took to settle in and get used to being away from home again. Considering how much I was looking forward to coming back, it took me a good week or so to feel happy here.

We all chose to move in a week before induction week started, so we could get things sorted in our house, buy any extra bits we needed and sort out our bills. However, this also meant we had a lot of time to kill, after going to Gunwharf, going to different parts of town and walking along the seafront, there was an awful lot of time left to sit in front of the TV watching films and eating ice cream.

I’ll be the first to admit that I wanted to go home nearly every day of our first week in our new house, but as soon as I saw some more people from our course and from my flat last year I was 100% happier, and now we’ve started lectures properly and got into more of a routine everything is pretty much perfect. There are still the obvious issues of when I’m going to do a load of washing, and what I’m going to have for dinner, but they’re the same kind of decisions I had to make last year, which is why I would urge anybody thinking of going to Uni or in the process of applying, to apply for halls as soon as they can, as it makes the process of moving away from home so much easier. I’ve found settling into a house this year difficult, I couldn’t even begin to imagine what a first year would feel like moving into a house miles away from home, living with people they’ve never met and having to organise rent, bills, budgeting and all the other extras that comes with a house as opposed to halls.

I’m going home this weekend for the first time this term, as my cousins are coming to stay and I’m going back to see them, but for the first time I don’t feel like I need to go home (although I am looking forward to it!) I’m never going to say no to Mums cooking or a cup of tea in bed!

Despite the fact we’ve only had three official days of our course starting (two for me as I have Mondays off!) our tutors haven’t messed around with setting us work. We’ve got one design project due in less than two weeks, and I’ve got no doubt I’ll get set another tomorrow for my other units. It’s clear already that second year is going to be a lot more intense than first year, but one of the benefits of living with people doing the same course as me is that we’re always motivating each other to do work. We also have the same amount of work, so we’re not considered anti social if we are just sitting doing coursework 24/7.

I think it’s going to take a good month or so to truly settle in and get into a routine. There’s so much to get used to, for one I’m living a good 20/25 minute walk from Uni, so I’m definitely feeling more tired at the moment! It’s different as well in a house as although I lived in a flat with 5 others last year we had a space that was defined as ‘ours’ whereas this year everything is much more communal, which obviously has advantages and disadvantages. So far, second year has treated me well. We had fun going out last week and enjoying some of the Fresher’s events, and now we’re getting stuck into our work and focusing on our projects.

 

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Clubs and societies, Course, Free time, Island Experience, Music, Nightlife, Sport, The city

Freshers!

I remember my first ever experience of Freshers Fayre at the University of Portsmouth – it seems like such a long time ago! Wherever I went there were people in the streets handing out leaflets and free things: a flyer for Ken’s Kebabs, a bag of coupons for a restaurant I’d never heard of, a free can of drink from club I would never visit, a free haircut, lollipops, badges and discount shopping vouchers. It was overwhelming! And that was even before I’d pushed my way towards Ravelin Park!

Already my hands were aching from carrying so many flyers. Then I was hit by the noise and the sheer amount of people mingling in the park. More vouchers were thrust into my hands, and then inside the tents so many societies vying to attract new recruits. It seemed like total chaos, and I remember going home to feel relieved to be alone again.

Freshers Fayre is pretty much like that, but I’ve learned to love it during my time. Rather than getting frustrated at the constant leafleters, I smile and gladly take their offerings in the hopes of finding a free pen or some sweets buried amongst the multitude of leaflets in their advertisement packs. I can feel the music pulsing through me at I get nearer to Ravelin Park, and I sense a twinge of excitement as I marvel at the huge number of sports clubs and societies there are on offer. You could never join them all – though what a blast it would be if you could! And I can’t really complain about queuing for one (or six) free slices of pizza from the Domino’s stand.

What to my younger self seemed like pure disorder has actually become one of my favourite times of the academic year. I now come back from Fresher’s feeling pumped and tingling, enthused to start a new year of study.

I was even lucky enough to spend this Fresher’s Fayre with a great bunch of my friends, representing the Japanese Language and Culture Society. How strange it was to be on the other side of this whole little festival. No longer was I the bemused boy wandering around in confusion – now I was the guy behind the stall, standing with the kimono girls and telling potential members about our great new society. It was a lot of fun!

The moral? Enjoy Freshers Fayre, and seriously sign up to some clubs. Any clubs. There’s no excuse for not finding at least one which interests you. Please take it from me: you will have a load more fun at uni if you get involved and meet some new people!  

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Free time, Music, Study

When Time Didn’t Stand Still

March 2013 signalled the end of all lectures of my Second Year. Then it was the April holiday which merged into the stressful exam time of May. Then summer hit and June, July and August went by all too quickly.

It’s was a fun summer break, and a productive one too in many respects, though work on my dissertation has yet to commence!

The weather now has dropped as we descend into autumn, and a return to study. I do feel well organised, and ready to take the plunge of a lot of hard work in this Third and final year to get the best out of my degree. I know it won’t be easy, but I’m excited to realise how close I am to my final goal of achieving my degree. Although I would have loved a few more weeks to be lazy, the time has come to start work again.

I’m very excited, and just a little nervous. Here we go!

Oh, and here’s some classic ELO from 1981, singing about when time did stand still. All I can say is that it certainly didn’t for me so far this year!

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Home, Reflection

A Summary of my Summer

My Summer has mainly consisted of two things:

1)   Working

2)   Spending all the money I have earned and was supposed to save.

 

Now that all sounds rather dreary, but the spending money part was fun! Despite the fact I spent a lot on, well, not a lot, here is another list of the worthwhile (and not boring like car tax) things that I spent my (well-earned) wages on:

1)   Visiting two Uni friends, one in Essex and one in Gloucester,

2)   Going for a long weekend to the New Forest with my lovely boyfriend,

3)   Catching the train to Portsmouth several times to spend time with my boyfriend who is now doing a placement year,

4)   Going on holiday to Cornwall with my family,

5)   Going to London Zoo with my Mum and brother (admittedly my Mum actually paid for this but I thought it was worth adding anyway!)

6)   Seeing Mumford and Sons at the ‘Gentlemen of the Road’ festival in Lewes – 5 miles from where I live!

7)   A shiny new (beautiful) MacBook Pro (which I’m currently typing this blog on)

8)   New shoes!

9)   Going to Wimbledon (again, I didn’t pay for but was a lovely day out nonetheless!)

 

As you can see, I had a pretty jam-packed summer, but all I can comment on is how fast it went! You hear people say it time and time again but I honestly cannot believe that I spent four months at home, and I’m now back at University again starting second year. Towards the end of the summer, and especially in the last few weeks when I was beginning to pack and get everything sorted again for Uni I couldn’t wait to get back, to see my friends, and even start lectures again!

Come two months time and I won’t believe that I said that!

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Architecture, Course, Reflection

My New (Uni) Year Resolutions!

If you’re like me and struggle to ‘reinvent yourself’ each January, the time society has led us to believe is the best time to start something new, join the gym or simply be kinder to your peers, keep reading! In my opinion, January is a month where I desperately try to perfect my lifestyle, and end up feeling eternally guilty for not making the gym, or eating a fat slice of cake. So I figured, maybe I should make my resolutions now, at the beginning of a fresh academic year.

It’s perhaps not the most practiced of traditions – (in fact can it even be called a tradition?!) but maybe it’s something all returning students should consider, to benefit themselves and perhaps any lucky Fresher’s who happen to be reading this! Most students probably think of things in their heads that they want to improve on from last year, but I bet there aren’t as many who write them down, and I often find that this makes a big difference. When something is written down its more official, more real, and if you stick something on your wall and read it everyday, (or in a blog where other people might witness your failure) there’s no excuse not to act!

So here it goes, my New (Uni) Year Resolutions, some which only apply to me, some to others on my course and hopefully some for everyone!

1)   Blog more regularly

This obviously applies directly to me but it’s hopefully something that will benefit any readers I have hiding out there, offering advice, entertainment or a distraction from coursework.

2)   Start Coursework/Projects on the day it is set

I don’t mean start and finish the whole thing, just do something that’s even remotely related to the topic of the project, such as re-reading and highlighting relevant notes, doing a bit of research, taking a book out of the library. On the day the task is set I (usually) feel more excited or motivated about it, but then as the weeks go on it becomes a bigger task that I have to complete in a rapidly decreasing amount of time. If I’ve started something, or even have a vague idea, when I come to completing big chunks of it I’m hoping it will seem less daunting!

3)   Use more precedents in my work, and write why I have used them

Now I sense some of you wondering what on earth I’m talking about, but people on a design course will know all too well. Precedents is basically another word for ‘work of others’ or ‘inspiration’. This was the weakest part of all my projects last year, so in my up and coming projects I’m going to make a real effort to look at more examples and show how other architects work has influenced my own!

4)   Make better use of the facilities the University has to offer me

Towards the end of the year I started using the library a bit more, but I can put my hand on my heart and say the only time I stepped into the workshop was the day we did our induction. As the School of Architecture is moving to the new part of Eldon Building, I’m definitely going to make a conscious effort this year to make use of all the brand spanking new equipment they’ve got, and hopefully it will have a positive impact on my work.

5)   Budget, budget, budget

Current students will know this word far too much, and this year I have promised my Mother that I will budget, and I will budget properly. I will sit down and work how much money I can spend each week, taking into account what goes in and out of my bank each month. Finances can be so difficult to judge in your first year, you’ve never been out and completed a ‘weekly shop’! I was in the tricky situation last year where my loan didn’t even cover the cost of my University halls, and I know a lot of my friends were in a similar situation. My Mum made me sit down and estimate how much I was going to spend on things like food, toiletries, course materials, travel, going-out etc. So off I went, working out how I could fund fresher’s week with only £15 in the ‘going out’ section (not through choice!) Everything seemed to work out fine in the end though, I muddled through first year not really taking much notice of my bank statements, but this year I want to make more of an effort, so I can hopefully save a bit of money as well. One tip I would give to new students though would to have a bit of money spare at the beginning of the year, as with most courses you’ll find that you suddenly have to buy certain books or equipment (especially with Architecture, you have to get certain sketchbooks and model-making bits – I’d keep at least £100 aside if you can.) You may also decide you want to join the gym, a sports club or another student society, most of which will have a membership fee, plus there’s always the possible situation of moving into your new accommodation only to realise you don’t have a kettle/toaster/you left your duvet at home.

6)   Gym/Swim/Stop sitting down so much

At the beginning of my first year I thought there was no point in joining the gym, I hardly used my membership at home I thought, no point in wasting an extra £120 on a membership here. Then I started Uni, and ate pasta approximately 5 times a week, and a packet of biscuits every time I had a cup of tea. The months developed and I could no longer fit into a skirt I wore in Fresher’s week, and I knew the gym was calling me. By November I was a member of St. Paul’s Gym, and I began to get into a routine of going a few times a week, but towards the end of the year my routine slipped as the coursework increased. This year I’m going to join from the beginning of the year, it works out at £10 a month for a year, which isn’t a lot and includes hire of badminton courts and all exercise classes. I also found out recently that there is a swimming pool near Maggie Rule halls, which I had no idea about all of last year (very annoying as I love swimming!), if you want to look it up it’s a called Charter Community Sports Centre, so I’m definitely going to make use of that this year!

So these are my resolutions for my New Year at University, hopefully there is some useful information in this long rambling post! Let me know what your New Uni Year Resolutions are!

 

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