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BUCS

For the past year I have been competing for the University Equestrian Club in the British University and Colleges Sports (BUCS) competitions. I can honestly say I have had so much fun competing and I have made the best friends out of it too.

To give you a rough idea of how it works – in each league there are four teams from different Universities made up of four riders each (making sixteen riders in each competition). Each University hosts a competition meaning we have four league competitions in total over the academic year. In my league we compete against Brighton, Southampton and Kent, meaning there’s been quite a bit of travelling over the year!

Each competition is made up of two phases, a dressage phase (everyone saw the horses dancing in the Olympics right?!) and a showjumping phase. The unique thing about BUCS Equestrian is you don’t have to have your own horse to take part, in fact, it’s against the rules to compete on your own horse! At each competition the home team selects eight horses, four each for dressage and jumping, and each rider picks out of a hat to select their horses. As we have never ridden the horses before, it’s a test of the rider’s ability and you get marked on your style and technique.

My team and I have done really well over the season, with a team 1st, 2nd and two 3rd’s as well as several individual placing’s. We finished our league 2nd overall, which is better than we ever imagined doing!

All I can say about BUCS, Equestrian or other, is that is the best fun I have had whilst being at Uni, as is being part of a Sports Club or Society in general. Anyone in their first or second year who considered signing up for something at Freshers Fayre but never got round to it, I would 100% encourage you to do so next year! It’s so good to meet people with similar interests to you, and just to have another group of people to socialise with. I love having an escape from my Uni work and being able to go and spend an afternoon with my team girls and some ponies! (Yes I was the crazy horse girl in school incase you were wondering.)

For anyone interested in finding out more about the Equestrian Club,

find us on: Facebook at ‘UPSU Equestrian Club,’

follow us on Twitter: @UoP_Equestrian

visit our blog: http://uniofportsmouthequestrianclub.weebly.com

Our first competition at home on November 5th where we came 2nd and Izziey came 1st individually

Our first competition at home on November 5th where we came 2nd and Izziey came 1st individually

Our second competition at Kent, 3rd as a team and 3rd individually for me!

Our second competition at Kent, 3rd as a team and 3rd individually for me!

Our third competition down the road at Southampton, which we won! I also came 2nd as an individual which was an added bonus!

Our third competition down the road at Southampton, which we won! I also came 2nd as an individual which was an added bonus!

Our last competition at Brighton on March 4th 2015, 3rd as a team, 5th for Izziey and 7th for me!

Our last competition at Brighton on March 4th 2015, 3rd as a team, 5th for Izziey and 7th for me!

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Uncategorized

11 Things to do in Portsmouth when you’re bored

In the unlikely event that you run out of ‘studenty’ activites to partake in (lying in bed watching Netflix?) I thought I’d think of a few things that I’ve done whilst in Portsmouth that I should share with others. Some are pretty obvious options, touristy things that are still well worth doing, whereas others may be a bit more unusual or things that you might not know even exist!

1) Go to the historic dockyards

One of the more obvious options, and you may have potentially been on a school trip previously, though there have been some more recent changes so a revisit would definitely be worth it! Tickets are more on the pricier side (£20-£25) but they’re valid for a whole year, so you could go back as many times as you like, as you’d probably be pushed to fit everything in one day! One thing I would definitely recommend would be the boat trip, which takes you all the way up the harbor where you can see the Navy boats, and then round the front of Gunwharf Quays where you can choose to get off or return to the dockyards. The Mary Rose museum opened within the last year or two as well so will be worth a trip for sure.

2) Go down to the seafront

There are multiple things to do down at the seafront, whether you choose to sit on the beach, be brave enough to have a dip in the sea or relax with an ice cream! Clarence pier has a massive amusement arcade, and you can play crazy golf and have a go on the rides. From Clarence Pier you can also take a walk through Old Portsmouth, which has some really lovely pubs overlooking the water – definitely try the Fish and Chips at the Still and West

3) See the guinea pigs in Victoria Park

In my first year I discovered, along with my course friends, a Park which you can get to round the side of Guildhall, past the war memorial. We were having a walk through the park when we found a large aviary in the middle. In there they house a variety of birds, as well as rabbits and guinea pigs!

4) Palmerston Road

Palmy Road is maybe a place not as well known to students as Commerical Road, particularly amongst the first years living in halls. However, this lovely shopping area which leads down to the common often has markets on at the weekends, good for a browse even if you don’t buy anything! There is also some nice, independent coffee shops around there too.

5) Southsea Common

Perhaps more a summer activity, the common is a perfect place to go and sunbathe (when the sun eventually surfaces) or revise with your friends during exam period, and when the exams are eventually over, a great place to have a BBQ or kick a football around.

6) Canoe Lake

One thing I have never done but vow to do before I graduate is to hire one of the pedalo boats at Canoe Lake, it looks so much fun and a great way to enjoy the sunshine! There is also a really nice café over the road that makes really scrummy brownies.

7) D-day Museum

I think whilst you are in Portsmouth it is important to learn about its history. At the D-day Museum you can find out more about Portsmouths role in the Second World War and particularly what happened on and leading up to D-day.

8) Garage Lounge Café/Tenth Hole

These are two cafes that make the most amazing cakes and are perfect when you need a little pick me up!

9) Albert Road

If you’ve got a free morning or afternoon and fancy a wander and a rummage around for some quirky bits and pieces, Albert Road is the place to go.

10) Spinnaker Tower

As with the dockyards, this is another of the more obvious options but a trip up to the top of the Spinnaker Tower is a must whilst you’re in Portsmouth. It’s not as expensive as you might think, as you can get student/resident discount, so it’s under £10 to go up to the top, though I’ve found it’s a good place to go with your parents when they come and visit for the day!

11) Portsdown Hill

Portsdown Hill is to the north of the island, and you will either need a car or to get a bus here, but on a clear day you can see the whole of the island so its good to go for a picnic or even if you just fancy a drive. It’s equally as spectacular at night when you can see all the lights of the city.

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Architecture, Clubs and societies, Course, Coursework, Free time, Home, Portsmouth

New Term

It takes a little while after summer to get back into the swing of things at Uni. Getting up at a reasonable time, going to bed at a reasonable time and sticking to a routine is not necessarily something that happens during the summer months. Luckily I was really looking forward to getting started again, dare I say it but our break was almost a bit too long, I wanted to see my Uni friends again and actually have a purpose to my life! The novelty of summer wears off pretty quickly when you realise you haven’t actually got many plans. That being said, I went away with friends to Wales and Turkey, went to Cornwall with my boyfriend and family, as well as going to Victorious Festival here in Portsmouth! I also did some part-time work and had plenty of pyjama days.

Starting back with our course was as busy as we anticipated; as per usual our tutors had no delays in dishing out the work. Our first project was set during induction week, though we’ve pretty much come to the conclusion that induction week just doesn’t exist in architecture, there was no plan to coax us back in slowly. It was inevitable from the start that this year is going to be tougher. Our current design project is twice the size of our last and worth half the credits, plus we have half the time! Just a small challenge! However I’m really happy with my tutor this year, he’s been one of my favourite lecturers throughout my first two years and is really constructive when we’re talking about our designs.

One of the most exciting things about this year is that I’ve made it onto teams for the University of Portsmouth Equestrian Club. I was part of the club last year but I can’t wait to get into it a bit more and ride on a regular basis. It’s so nice to still be able to carry on with a sport I really enjoy, even when I’m away from home and my pony!

I’ll be going home for the first time this term next weekend, which is a record for me! I’m still a home girl at heart but I am finding it easier to spend longer periods of time away from my family. That being said, I’m really looking forward to going home and seeing everyone, mostly for going to my brother’s tennis club on Saturday morning where they make the yummiest cakes ever! It’ll be lovely to have one of Mum’s roasts too…

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Architecture, Course, Reflection, Study

Third Year is Approaching. Fast.

I’m finding it very hard to digest the thought that I am now what is known as a ‘third year.’ The fact that I have completed two years of my degree already is so scary, and actually really sad. It feels like only yesterday that I was moving into A-1-1 of James Watson and meeting my flat mates for the first time. Despite the fact I lived with the most amazing bunch and complete mix of people in my first year, I never really knew my place, within my course or my accommodation. I always felt as if I was just ‘bumbling along’ but I never felt entirely comfortable. This year however, has been a difficult year for many personal reasons but on the whole I feel like at the end of Year Two I’ve finally found my place. I know this time next year I am going to be absolutely devastated to be leaving.

I’m not quite sure what it is that has made this year so fulfilling. I think perhaps moving into the new wing of Eldon Building, which had been specifically designed for my course, has been a factor. It really feels like a second home in there now, we have our studios with cupboards to store belongings and work, we have sofas and tea and coffee making facilities’, a fridge and a microwave. You literally could live there if they allowed it! When we moved in after Christmas it became a lot easier to get coursework done and I really felt like I got into a good, productive routine.

Architecture is unlike a lot of courses because we spend an awful lot more time in university than others. We have a ‘studio day’ where we’ll be in uni for the whole day, working in groups of around 20 people. A lot of people choose to work in studio at other times of the week as well, which means you end up getting to know people a lot more than just the odd ‘hello’ when you see them in a lecture twice a week. We’re a pretty sociable bunch, and I’m really lucky to have such a close friendship group within my course. We all tend to help each other out as well, particularly as it nears hand-ins and everyone is getting stressed and tuning into panic mode, it really helps having someone to reassure you who actually understands what you’re going through. I have relied on my course friends a lot this year, it seems like there is someone in the group to fit any purpose, someone for advice, others to make you laugh and cheer you up and others you can sit and chat for hours about absolutely everything with. In all honesty, if it hadn’t been for my incredible friends there is every chance I wouldn’t have completed this year. I’ve had such an astonishing turnaround since Christmas, I now don’t want to leave!

I’m currently trying not to think about the fact I only have one year left at University. All I can say to any fresher’s, or even second years, is to make the most of your time at Portsmouth. Take any opportunities you are given, the time you spend here will go so quickly, and they are years you will remember for the rest of your life.

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Portsmouth, Student Housing

House Hunting – Survival Guide

One of the most stressful things you are likely to have to undergo as a student (after deadlines and exams) is House Hunting. It’s almost as if there is something in the air come January, when suddenly everyone returns from Christmas and jumps on the house hunting bandwagon. It’s topic of conversation in every flat in halls, questions such as: ‘Have you got your house yet?’, ‘Who are you living with next year?’, ‘Which agent are you with?’ or ‘How much is your rent going to be?’ become popular dinner conversations.

I’ve put together a list of tips for surviving the House Hunting season, in an attempt to ease the panic and calm down anyone who has yet to find a house for the next academic year, (like me!)

1)   Don’t look too early, and by too early I mean before Christmas. It is inevitable, particularly among the first years, that rumours will be spread such as: ‘we’ve just taken the last 5 bed in Southsea’. In short, no they haven’t. In fact, the majority of flats and houses haven’t even been put on the market before Christmas, so you will gain nothing if you start looking before then.

2)   Know who you’re living with, and choose wisely. Living situations vary from group to group, many people end up living with their flatmates from halls, others from their course, as well as many from their society or sports club. Whichever you decide there is plenty to think about and questions to ask. Are they clean and tidy? Do they stay up late or get up early? Do you have a similar workload? How often do they like going out? Obviously the workload in second and third years is more demanding than first year and this is worth considering too.

3)   Look at maps when searching the Internet. When looking on housing websites or lists, make sure you’ve got a map website open on another tab so you can work out how long its going to take you to walk to different places – your university building, supermarkets, the gym, the train station, the university bus stops etc. Agree between you on a length of time and don’t look at any houses that fall out of that bracket.

4)   Write a list of things you want from your house. For example, you all want double beds, you want more than one bathroom, a bath, a washing machine. Everyone has different priorities, so it is important to agree on these before you begin your search.

5)   Agree on a maximum rent, and what this includes. It goes without saying that everyone’s financial situation is different and you have to allow for that. Take into consideration that there are properties available which include bills in the rent, and this can be a bonus as you don’t have the hassle of organising them. However if you do go for bills included make sure you know exactly what it includes and whether there is a limit on that, for example with the heating or internet.  If you don’t have bills included it’s also worth asking the landlord or previous tenants roughly what they spend on bills per month, and also whether they are on a top-up meter or come quarterly in the post.

 

6)   Be realistic. You’re not going to be living in the penthouse of the lipstick tower, but equally don’t settle for something mouldy and falling apart. There are some lovely student properties available, sometimes it just takes some perseverance to find them.

7)   Don’t let the current state of the house put you off. Its unlikely you’re going to turn up for a viewing and find an immaculate house with no mess, we are students after all. Remember the property will (or should) be clean and tidy when you move in. If you spot something broken, ask the landlord, and make sure they make a note of it so they can fix it should you decide to rent the house.

8)   Check the contract length. Unless you’re planning on getting a summer job in Portsmouth you don’t need a 12 month contract, so make sure you ask the length of it and see if there is any negotiation on the length as well. You could end up paying over £1000 extra for a house that you’re not living in.

9)   If you go with a letting agent, you will end up paying agency fees. These could range from £50 -£250, which is almost an extra months rent, and one of the benefits of using a private landlord (though there are less of these properties around). Remember as well that anyone showing you a house is trying to sell it to you, so ask as many questions as possible – take a list of them so you don’t forget.

10) Finally, if you like a house and it ticks the boxes – GO FOR IT. If its your gut feeling, don’t hold out because you’ve got other viewings, if the house is as good as you think, it is likely to go before you’ve had a chance to see others.

Good luck!

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Halls, Home, Reflection

Lessons Learnt

I can’t help but feel my blog has been (ever so slightly) neglected this term, and I can only apologise for that! For reasons I’m not going to go into on here, I didn’t feel in a position to write anything that would benefit my readers, due to events that happened over Christmas.

Moving onto a slightly more positive note, I thought I would write about what I have learnt about myself as a person since being at University, especially over the past few months. There are a lot of things I couldn’t do this time two years ago, this time last year, and even things I couldn’t do two months ago.

Living in a house compared to living in halls teaches you a lot: how to pay and manage bills, how to work a boiler, just simple things that give you that little extra boost of independence. Fortunately for me, before I started university I was able to cook an array of meals and do my washing, though I know many who didn’t have the faintest idea of where to start. Even so, my cooking skills have improved, and cooking has become a task I really enjoy. I find also that being responsible for myself at University makes me more aware of how much my Mum does for me and the rest of my family at home and as a result of this I feel I’m more likely to offer help around the house – though Mum may not agree! On a more personal level, I have learnt how to live with people that I’m not used to living with, how to react to different peoples personalities and how to manage my life around other peoples.

In terms of the last few months, I have learnt that where before I may have felt dependent on people for support, I’m actually more independent that I thought. Homesickness has always been something I’ve struggled with whilst I’m at Uni, but I’m actually better at dealing with it that I thought, and I have come to realise that I don’t need anyone to help me get through it. Keeping busy with friends and putting all my effort into my coursework are the best remedies!

With the end of second year approaching a lot faster that I would like and anticipated, I’m struggling to come to terms with the fact that I’m over half way through my degree, its exciting yet incredibly scary – the thought of the amount of work I have to get through before I graduate is enough to start a mild panic attack! However, I know with careful planning and consistent effort, plus my new found motivation will be enough to get me through and to a standard I am happy with.

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Architecture, Christmas, Course, Free time, Portsmouth

Update: Design Project and Christmas Spirit

Yesterday I had the final review for my first major project of this year. I’m sure I’ve explained what a review is before but basically we have to stand up in front of our studio groups and present our project, in the same way you would to a client. After the review we get feedback from peers and tutors to improve on our work for our final portfolio. As always the build up was STRESSFUL (notice the capitals) and it was in the last week that my housemates and I realised just how much more demanding second year is.  However, its all over now, and finally an opportunity to catch up on some much needed sleep – not that we’re given long, with our next project being set tomorrow!

After review on Tuesday, one of my housemates Aimee and I went for a walk; just to clear our heads, get out of ‘work mode’ and a get a bit of fresh air. As the evening set in we took a stroll down Palmerston Road where sparkling Christmas lights greeted us along with market stalls selling cute gifts and delicious looking food, Christmas cupcakes decorated with miniature Christmas trees and Father Christmas’ though of course I gave into the warm mince pies with brandy cream. I was told that on Saturdays there is a much bigger market, so I’m heading down there again this weekend with some friends who are coming to visit from home. Going for a walk really got me into the Christmas/wintery mode, walking along the seafront as the sun was setting really made me appreciate how much I enjoy living in Portsmouth, and what a lovely city it is!

Tonight I’m going out on a social, at the beginning of this year I joined UPEC – University of Portsmouth Equestrian Club – and we’ve got a Harry Potter themed social tonight! As HP is one of my favourite things of all time its safe to say I’m just a little bit excited about it!

Just a short update for today, time for classic pesto pasta and dressing up as Ginny Weasley!

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