Coursework, Study

R is for Referencing (& all things dissertation)

Yes, it’s that time of year! The deadly dissertation hand in!
Whilst I’ve spent my Easter (and months before) planning and prepping for my dissertation it’s now that I’ve actually found myself sitting doing it. Finding relevant references, citing them (for some reason this brings me more joy than it probably should!), justifying them and then trying to make it sound a bit more academic; not much of a wild Easter but – don’t fret – I am counteracting it with eating lots of Easter eggs and seeing my friends during my breaks!

For those of you not doing your dissertation at the moment this might be overwhelming – or maybe you don’t know what it is. Well I’m here to give you my top tips:

  • Start early
    Every single third year doing a dissertation will tell you this. Start now. (Unless you’re in 1st year!) Having your idea and research done quickly will motivate you more and won’t leave you in a last minute panic
  • Get your head round the ‘lit review’
    It’s tricky. Few people enjoy doing it. But it has to be done. 1000 words (give or take) about who else has studied the area you’re studying in.. When you want to get into the nitty gritty of your own topic it feels like a pointless/annoying process but it’s relevant! Learning how to write it earlier on is better than struggling later
  • Do something you enjoy
    This is the biggest downfall. You could choose a topic you think is easy to write about but if you find it mind-numbingly boring then don’t do it! You’ve got to write 6 to 12 000 words on it so make sure you’re in love with the subject!
    I chose to base mine on creating and marketing a welfare broadcast for the students and community of Portsmouth. Now I love TV, I love live broadcasts and I wanted to do something to help people; I think (finger’s crossed) I’ve achieved that!
  • Learn how to reference/cite
    If you don’t know how to reference or cite in text – learn now! You will have anywhere between 20 and 200 references for your dissertation and citing each of those is going to be a nightmare unless you learn how to do it properly. In my first year I could never reference but I learnt and now – inner geek coming out – I love it and it’s one of my favourite parts of academic writing!
  • Ask for help
    Your supervisor is here to help you; to bounce around ideas, how to actually get down to writing, if you change ideas.. that is what they’re there for! And if you feel you want more academic support there are so many places you can go in the University for academic skills help. This is a huge unit towards your final degree mark so don’t be afraid to ask for a second, third and even fourth opinion!

Dissertations are difficult; there’s no doubt about it. But it can be done; make sure you take breaks, socialise, get some air. Find yourself a motivator to get it done – if it’s 1 square of chocolate for every 100 words or maybe it’s 1hour of a tv show for every completed chapter – give yourself a treat that suits you.

And to round this off a bit of shameless plugging with my artefact for my dissertation called ‘Mind Matters’. Make sure you check it out as it’s 5 months of planning, filming and scripting all rolled into one!

Accomodation, Student Housing

The great big house hunt!

As a third year I have had 3 different housing situations; in my first year I was lucky enough to get into James Watson halls whilst my second and third years have been spent living in two different houses. Now, house hunting is exciting but it can also be frustrating and daunting so here are my top tips…

1) You don’t need to go through an estate agent!

Although agencies can seem easier and more beneficial – in the long run it is easier to go with a private landlord. Some agencies can be unhelpful and at the end of your tenancy they are notorious for billing students with extra cleaning/broken items. Nearly all agencies also carry agency fees with them which is basically you paying to sign documents. It’s all very silly! Instead try to find a private landlord… provide you with so many links to private landlords and houses. It’s also a good website if you’re flying solo looking for a house as there’s an opportunity to join a house share with people already signed up to the house.

2) Choose who you live with wisely

Living in a house is a WHOLE different world to living with someone in halls. Although halls feels communal it is when you live in a house together that you really find out about other people’s habits; sharing a bathroom, living area and kitchen… Work out who the best for you to live with are.. and remember that  it’s ok to turn someone down. It might be awkward and feel offensive but you’re better off saying no than living with someone you might not want to for the next year!

3) Imagine yourself in the house

Booking viewings is great but when you see the house imagine yourself in it.. not the person that’s there. It might be difficult but when we viewed our current house all of the occupants were girls so there were make-up items, personal photos and girly bed covers.. two of my housemates are guys so they just had to imagine the rooms as blank canvases. Remember as well that they might not look in pristine condition because of the current tenants but landlords usually make sure everything that needs refurbishing gets done over Summer.. When you visit make sure you look for any signs of mould/damp/general damage.. this is a sign the house maybe isn’t for you

4) Join a deposit protection scheme!

This ensures that your deposit is safe and protected! It’s one of the most vital things you can do so ensure that your landlord does this and you have proof of this. Any issues in the long run and this ensures that your deposit is protected

5) Go with your gut

I was in a situation where the people I lived with found a house they liked.. but I wasn’t so sure. We visited another house and all 3 of us fell in love with it (and I still love it now).. imagine if we’d’ve gone with the first house?! Always trust your instincts and go with your gut. You might feel pressurised to say ‘yes’ because all the good houses have gone but realistically there will always be good houses and some may not be released until Summer time. If you have any doubts.. go view somewhere else.

Happy house hunting!!

Course, Portsmouth

Live TV!

Hello again! So as you may, or may not, know I study TV & Broadcasting. To many this might simply mean another episode of Jeremy Kyle or a quiz show turned around in 45 minutes but it’s so much more than that .. it’s hours of planning, paperwork, filming and then, when it comes to the live part, running around like a mad hatter for a little bit until all is finished. So I wanted to give you an insight into my course and what it is I do! There’ll be more coming soon so keep your eyes peeled!

A8e8fs part of my course we work in 6 groups and put on a show in these teams.. this week was our week and I put myself forward as a producer. This meant I had to plan the show, organise the show and make sure everything slots together nicely.

After deciding I wanted 3 interviews we then had to fill the rest of the time with VTs (or VideoTapes) – basically a number of short films to give a bit more information. Now this process took about 4 weeks from start to finish and involved several days of pulling my hair out, wracking my brains over ideas and tonnes and tonnes of emails.

So then it’s on8cto the filming part. Now I personally enjoy going to shoots – not just to get paperwork signed but for the atmosphere and feeling involved.
Shoots can take anywhere between 30 minutes and 3 hours – you have to get your interviews, the bits and pieces you cut away to, the opening shots.. so it’s a lot more than just point and shoot!

Then you’ve got scriptwriting and editing to do in your group. Of course, whilst all this is going on I also have to organise guests! As you can see from the pictures – this show was themed around creative arts with community running through it.

Finally it comes to show week – you have to make sure every bit of paperwork is done. This includes things from making sure where you’ve filmed is health and safety approved.. to the timings of the show. Lots of print credits later and you have a beautifully formed folder full of paper. (I’m a bit of an organisational freak if you can’t tell!)

Rehearsals get hectic; you’re running here and there meeting people, te8blling people where to go and then you’re trying to stay on the phone with someone calling times at you which you have to pass on to a room full of people.

So after hours of everything pre-filmed and planned it boils down to 30 minutes..
In our show we had information about community based projects, sport as a motivator to help counteract stress, information about the Drama and Performance course and an amazing interview with The Turnblads from Hairspray!! It was so entertaining and so great to watch back. To know you and your team have been part of a journey and to see an audience laugh and enjoy themselves is wonderful.

And as much as Live TV can be hectic and busy and stressful – it gives you an adrenaline like no other. It’s a buzz that you can’t describe until you’ve done it and I wouldn’t swap any of it for the world.
Make sure you check out the show here…


My 2014 Round Up & Resolutions

Since 2007 I have kept a round up of my year; following me through school, sixth form, college and now university and looking back through my progress and how I’ve changed and rounded as a person is a really great feeling!
So, I thought 2014 shouldn’t be any different and here is my round up of the year…

This year
P1000327Looking back on last year a lot has changed; both for my personality, my hobbies, my lifestyle and my friendships. Some I’m happy with, some I’m thoughtful upon but I wouldn’t change any for the world. Everything I have partaken in this year has been a learning experience and an eye-opener.

This year I donned myself in fancy clothes for a ball, had a live radio show exam, took part in a 24 hour broadcast, directed a TV show, filmed for my documentary, had one of the best birthdays I’ve ever had, found a new love of cooking and different types of food, went to help film the Bupa Great South Run, saw McBusted, filmed for the Rio Ferdinand Foundation, wore lots of red lipstick, was featured in a recognised television magazine (twice!), fell in love with Brighton again, moved into my second house, lost both my bikes, vac-packed a giant sandwich, got heatstroke, cared less and – quite frankly – enjoyed more.I also decided to get a bit more healthy which I’m really pleased with (she says whilst munching on sweets).

Though I travelled less this year I felt more independent than ever. A few years ago walking to a shop on my own was alien to me but now I can happily stroll up town and feel good. I also discovered that it’s easy to hate but so much better to get on with my life and spend less time worrying. Feeling independent is truly a wonderful thing; as is learningDSC_0138 to not hate. My hope for 2015 is to spend less time focussing on the past and the future and to only concern myself with the present and the 24 hours infront of me. For a planner like me, this is difficult, but I’m determined.

A huge high for me this year was my birthday. I had the most wonderful day surrounded by Uni friends and drink and went home to a valley of presents (which I’m extremely grateful for) that I had to solve clues to obtain! Not only this but I went back to Essex to spend time with my closest friends and rounded up my 23rd birthday with a trip to Brighton! It was a truly memorable one.

What I’ve learnt

  • Friendships have ups and downs. I’ve mentioned this in the past but I think it’s important to note that I’m still learning. People change; for the better and for the worst. It’s ok to let go of friendships and it’s also ok to keep hold of ones as long as they’re still healthy.
  • 10583149_10152361338238752_86499385_nIndependence. Building on the independence I learnt last year I trust myself so much more with decisions, confrontation and advice. I no longer find I rely on others for opinions on personal issues and I think this is a huge learning curve.
  • If you put your mind to it you can change anything. A few months into the year I set myself a challenge and a change and I’ve done well. It’s important to set goals and re-assess them to see how far you’ve come.. and if you don’t manage to achieve them it’s about seeing why and accepting what could be done better next time.
  • Finally, I will not always get along with someone. Friendships might not always be maintained. People won’t always put in as much energy as I will and vice versa. I may have to be polite for work/argument’s sake. This is a part of life and always will be and I’m quite happy with that.


  • Write more.
  • Read more.
  • Explore more.
  • Enjoy every opportunity.
  • Continue being happy and healthy.
  • A little extra one – give up chocolate for a week and fizzy drinks for a month (at least). Not likely really but I thought I’d try a challenge!



Job S.O.S Mini Series | Part 3: THE INTERVIEW

Read part 1 here and part 2 here !

So you’ve found the job you’re looking for – you’ve applied, brushed off your CV and are ready to go.. but what now? How can you ace that interview?…

"You've got the job, but you've got to change your clothes."1. TIMING & ATTIRE
Two simple elements that can sometimes be overlooked; firstly, dress to impress. Even if a dress code is considered ‘casual’ or even ‘smart-casual’ then always overdress. There is no harm in smartening up for a job interview – a blazer is never too much. Remember that it’s important to stand out – even in the way you dress, so a flash of colour on a tie or necklace will distinguish you from other candidates.
Another point; ensure you arrive at least 10 minutes before your allotted time. Always ensure that you leave plenty of time incase of travelling problems and when you get there bring a book or notepad with you. It will relax you!
2. P.M.A
Positive. Mental. Attitude. As I’ve explained before – this is key. Go into an interview feeling good and feeling confident; believe that you are the best candidate for this job and remember this is your one shot. Treat it as this and push the positivity and confidence.
Make sure you get your point across – especially in a group interview where voices can easily get lost. You want them to see that you’re a confident person that is good for their business. Ensure you speak up just enough to stand out but not too much that you look overpowering. Find the balance between patience and communication.
Research into the company and their interview procedures. Showing that you have a knowledge of the business and have taken the initiative to find out more shows passion and gives you something to break the ice at the beginning of the interview. Having a search on thestudentroom website can give lots of insight into how the business handle job interviews and what sort of questions they may ask. They also have lots of advice and tips. Make sure you practice with a friend so that you feel prepared.

Hopefully this series has helped you consider about jobs to apply for and given you the confidence you need when going for a job interview. I wish you the best of luck in your job hunts! 🙂


Job hunting

Job S.O.S Mini Series | Part 2: THE HUNT

Read part 1 here!
6bThe second in the job SOS series looks at the hunt for the job. Looking for a job can feel like an endless supply of rejections or, in some cases, no replies at all! Perserverence and persistence is key – it may feel demoralising but KEEP GOING! You’ll get there 🙂
Often we frantically apply for a job, fill in a form, send off our CV and we’re done. It’s very rare that, when we’re desperate, we apply for jobs that we actually want to do and read the specifications properly. Then a few days later a call comes through and, gulp, we’ve forgotten that we’ve appled for a job in a place we wouldn’t’ve have purposefully applied for had we read the listing properly!
Be wise with your job hunt. If you apply for a job you can’t see yourself working in or a place you can’t travel to then don’t apply! If you end up getting the job you might absolutely hate it and are more likely to quit or it may lead to disappointment.
Remember, it’s important to ‘go for it’ but still be selective of your job choices. It’s better to put your all into one application you love than it is to apply to copious amounts of job listings (some you might love, some you might hate) with sloppy applications.
It’s the old catch 22 – can’t get a job without experience, can’t get experience without a job. But experience is key to talk about on your CV and during your interview so whilst your waiting for job applications/replies look into volunteering opportunities to enhance your job hunt.
Not only does this give you something to do rather than continually refreshing job sites but it gives you a better insight into the job industry, helps you interact with customers and also gives you relevant information to talk about and bring up in the future. Purple door, Vinspired and Portsmouth government websites are good places to look for experience.
Networking is key. A lot of companies now look for bloggers, on Facebook, twitter, Linked In and various other social networking websites. Some people have in fact found jobs online that weren’t necessarily advertised on websites. Remember to look on local websites or student Facebook pages for information on upcoming jobs as well..
Next time you’re on a social networking website consider how you may come across to a potential employee!
Utilise Purple Door! Not only do they help with CV writing and interviews but they post all the latest job opportunities and ensure that applying is easy!
Jobseekers are also helpful as they post a list of jobs that are updated daily that are provided by the jobcentre plus. I also recommended Indeed that few people have heard of but list jobs hourly and are frequently updated. Some of the jobs on there seem quite random and are skill specific but there are the odd glimmers that you wouldn’t have found otherwise.
It worked in the past and it can still work now. There are some ‘local’ stores that aren’t big chains that take on people based on handing in CVs rather than online applications. Have your CV prepared in a little see-through slippery file or an envelope and, if you’re feeling brave, ask to speak to the manager. Not only does this make it personal but you know that your CV is going directly to them.

Look out for part 3: THE INTERVIEW coming soon!


Job S.O.S Mini Series | Part 1: THE CV

I decided to write a mini series on finding a part-time job. I know when I was in first year I wanted a job/a little extra cash to support myself so worked as a student mentor for the University for 10 weeks. In my second year I then became a Student Marketing Assistant, a Student Housing Assistant and filmed graduations – as well as keeping my part-time job at Waitrose at home! Rather than fit the process into one post I thought I’d turn this into a handy mini series.
Part 1: The CV, Part 2: The Hunt and Part 3: The Interview! 🙂


It’s always good to have a ‘simple CV’ handy for if you’re handing CVs out or found a job that you want to apply for. For graduate jobs or more specified areas you’ll want to create a CV that is catered to those areas.
Remember: purple door can always help check over CVs with their walk in workshops!


In a lot of situations we’re not taught that image is not important but for CVs – image is everything! The first thing a potential employer will see is the layout. Before they read any information they’ll see the header, the footer, the font, the length and the general layout. If it looks crowded or messy then effectively they’ll base that as a reflection on you. Some employers may also even toss it to one side if they have a lot of CVs to read through. Keep it neat and organised to give a good impression. If you wouldn’t want to read your own CV because it’s crammed or unpleasant to read, then why would a potential employer?


The second thing the person reading your CV will see is the spelling and grammar. If they see words spelt incorrectly or unappealing grammar they may put it to one side and move a more efficient looking CV to the top. This is the same with online CV applications (where sometimes you may have to type your qualifications and experience in online) – it’s so easy to misspell something and have it corrected automatically – ensure you continually check over your CV and ask a friend to help too!


If you’ve seen The Apprentice you know the final job interview round includes a CV check where invariably at least one of the candidates has told a lie. This lie, which may have seemed harmless at the time of writing their CV, escalates into a ‘make or break’ career move. It’s always best to tell the truth. But ensure you do this appropriately. If you’ve been fired from a job or left early, it may not be best to write that in your CV. If you’ve had a very limited amount of previous work experience you can ‘play up’ the importance of it but be very careful because there’s a fine line. Anything on your CV could come up during an interview so be aware of this.


This is crucial – especially for those who may be pulling their hair out at their limited amount of experience. There are key skills you’ve picked up from past experiences that can be relevant in virtually every field of work. Remember to include these, particularly if you’re searching to pad out your CV a little.
For example, you may think a paper round is irrelevant but consider the skills you need for that; time-keeping, organisation, liasing with your employer, a high level of responsibility and customer service, loyalty and trust… the list is endless..


Of course, we all want to ensure we have lots of experience but a long list of roles and responsibilities can become irrelevant. Stick to simple bullet points which is easy for your potential employer to read. It keeps the information concise and informative. Also, you don’t need to list every GCSE grade or include your National Insurance number or age on your CV. Especially the latter as this could lead to accidental/indirect age discrimination.


Update, update, update! This is so important – especially at University – if you’re sending off bulk CVs to companies make sure it’s all up to date and check over for any mistakes, such as your address! If you’re sending off CVs with an address in Wales but are applying for a job in Portsmouth (where you’re living at University) you may encounter issues!


Catch up for Part 2: The Hunt coming shortly!