The End of a Term and Year

It’s comforting to end the first term on a high, with coursework done early and feeling like you’ve understood most of what you’ve done so far in the year. Making just the smallest start on a piece of work long before the deadline helps massively I’ve found – later down the line, when considering what work you want to do you can refer back to what you’ve done and have a better idea of what needed to be added on, additional plans and content.

Something that’s been on my mind is to venture beyond my own subject area, for Computing learning a new programming language outside of my studies would be fun, a good use of time and look good on a CV, however many businesses consider applicants for multiple divisions (HR, Tech, Finance) and showing that you’ve decided to do something outside your ‘area of expertise’. Writing (for example, blogs) or really any type of volunteering would be looked favourably upon employers as being well-rounded and a mixture of skills.

If you have the opportunity to, I’d advise everyone to visit a convention/exhibition at some point, if you’re into gaming/anime/comics there’s multiple Comic Cons throughout the year as well as other conventions catering to specific interests. You could also meet famous people/groups you’ve watched/listened to, when I visited MCM Comic Con in London last October I had a great time and met many awesome people.

There’s been some great movies in the past few months, Doctor Strange was another great Marvel origins story, and a return to the Harry Potter Universe with Fantastic Beasts, of course it’s entirely subjective, with some people disliking Hollywood’s big budget films, that said, there’s plenty of independent film-makers creating some quality productions.

Regarding budgeting I think one of the biggest factors in people planning poorly is that if you don’t budget before the time period (e.g. start of term) then you usually slip into some bad buying habits you can’t keep up through the term. With myself, I find having a rough idea of bank balances, rent and expenses I’m going to encounter in the year… making sure I can be stable financially. There’s rarely any need for specialist budgeting software/tools and if you do decide to use something such as MS Excel be mindful of security with bank details and your own account.

Accomodation, Course, Student, Student Housing

Top tips for the ideal open day

The first thing on your mind with an open day should be:

What questions can I ask and what criteria can I use to see if this university and course is right for me?

Some questions which I found particularly useful to use were regarding the course – one of the most important aspects for choosing a university, these would include asking about the learning style of the course, coursework versus examinations, practice versus theory or independent work versus in-class hours. While a lot of course as well as university information can be found online, meeting course lecturers, admissions tutors and current students is invaluable and your questions shouldn’t be asked without researching whether the answers are readily available.

Preparing questions should be done as preparation but you should attempt to plan the day too, selecting where you should visit and who you should see to get the most out of the day. Try to gather a list of useful contacts (for example, course leader) then consider emailing questions if you find you still have some left after the open day.

Talks offered at open days are often well worth going to and those on certain topics such as finance shouldn’t be dismissed just because you presume you know everything about a certain topic. You should absolutely have your eyes on places of accommodation to visit; indeed, if you’re able to visit multiple places then consider different types (catered/self-catered, en-suite/shared bathroom) as this will give you insight into what you prefer when choosing halls of residence. Don’t ignore the library, as many students often underestimate the time they plan on spending at a library throughout the year, getting a feel of the place now will help you when deadlines come up in the later part of the year.

For a city university like Portsmouth I was able to explore the local area naturally when visiting the various sites throughout the city, but for a dedicated campus university the surrounding area is worth having a look at. More than likely your open day is happening in the university year, so taking a look at noticeboards advertising events can give you a good idea of night-life and what to expect from the sports or events scene.

Finally, can you see yourself maximising your time here? Able to excel and live there for at least three years? A university decision shouldn’t be made hastily despite pressures from your current academic work.

Good luck.

Student, Uni Life

Maximising the start of Uni

I’m Chris, a third year Computing student with an affection for all things tech.

Back at uni! Plus, it’s my final (third) year!

When I think of the word ‘final’ in relation to something, I associate it with almost being done and things generally petering off, but that’s not the case here. Between the most advanced units on my course, the year-long project and applying to graduate jobs, the final year is no place for procrastination. On the flip side, I’m going to take a safe bet and predict that time will go just as quick as in prior years, with deadlines coming like buses while working relentlessly on anything and everything.

All the same, you can’t just keep a workaholic attitude going – which is why I’d encourage ‘finding your Zen’, not to sound too mystical, but just a kind of meditative state – why do you think you come up with new thoughts and ideas when you’re in the shower or about to sleep?

Leading on from ideas, having a supervisor for a final year project is so important as you can bounce thoughts off them and they can provide confirmation of your own intentions, but with friends/family/tutors this can be done any-time at university and it’s a shame many people don’t develop their own ideas within topics more while at university.

After a rather standard summer food-wise, it’s nice to shop around and try the odd crazy recipe. I know I’m not alone in this, but when making a meal from a new recipe it’s reassuring to make sure that even if the recipe goes wrong there’s enough to recover for a meal.

Despite the hustle and bustle of a uni year, you should certainly check out what the Union’s offering, I’ve found some interesting events from the Union website which don’t get widely advertised, not just sport but many happenings of interest, for example at the end of October I’ll be going to a talk and signing of an author I’ve read since high school.

Just an introduction so I kept it short, they’ll not doubt be more stuff coming up soon…if you’ve got something exciting lined up let me know!