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.

Course, Portsmouth, Student, Study, The city, Uni Life

First Year in a Nutshell

Exactly 419 days ago I travelled a fair few miles down to the South coast of England to embark on a new chapter of my life. I waved Goodbye to my family, Goodbye to my friends, Goodbye to food, Goodbye to sleep, Goodbye to all sense of sanity and settled into a new city that would be my home for the next three years.

20150913_123544I had soo much stuff!  It was a struggle to get it all in the car #throwback

This was the first time I had ever really been away from home by myself so I was a little out of my comfort zone. Although I was well-equipped with how to look after myself I had never cooked a proper meal in my life nor had I ever had to do everything for myself, so it took a bit of getting used to.

I must point out that I was also one of the few that unfortunately didn’t get a place in the university halls so I was even more nervous as I was quite a walk from the University and had no idea where anything was. Google Maps definitely helped me through my first few weeks and by then I had scoped out the area, found my University buildings and the local shops.

The city itself was a little different to what I was used to, it was a lot smaller and I soon noticed that aside from the mass of students it was very quiet. I rather enjoyed this though, it made life seem more calm and relaxed.

Freshers week was a real laugh. I didn’t go overboard but I still had tons of fun. I loved the fact that everyone was so open and talkative, happy and enjoying themselves, living in the moment. I met a lot of people from different parts of the UK which was quite nice and some of whom I’m still friends with now. I would encourage everyone to go and have fun, that’s what freshers is all about! And if the freshers parties and club events are really not your thing, you can still go the freshers fayre and attend the variety of society tasters they have going on.

After a couple weeks I had settled into a whole new routine, met some wonderful new people and got stuck into my course. At first, I admit I found my course rather challenging. It is quite a difference to Sixth form or College but more in terms of teaching than content in my opinion. A lot of my first year units built on what I had already learnt so having that foundation made it a lot easier. I’d say the step up from College to University was fitting in terms of my course, especially having done such relevant A-levels (Biology, Chemistry, Maths). The assignments were quite time-consuming but I found them rather enjoyable. I loved doing more research and learning more about different areas of my course. If anyone is debating University because of the work load the only thing I’d mention is that you do have a lot of time. By far a lot more than I had at College. It does depend on the course, but most of the time university hours are equivalent to only 3 days a week.

Although I spent a lot of my free time going out and having fun with my friends I was often found in the library hard at work, especially close to exam time. I managed to finish with the equivalent to a 2:1 which is pretty good.

A year and a half later and here I am. In contrast, I can now successfully cook myself dinner (and I promise it’s not just pasta everyday), I’m managing my schedule pretty well, aiming for a first class grade and almost half way through my degree which I must stay is pretty scary. It’s definitely gone by quick. I’d stay that the first year was quite a learning curve for me and so i’ll leave you with the three most important lessons I learnt…

1. Stay true to yourself

You’ll meet tons of different people, from different upbringings and with different morals. Some people think that they have to change to fit in but University gives you the platform to express yourself, and be you. There is something for everybody. You can still be you and do your own things, just in a different surrounding with lots of opportunities to do things you’ve always wanted to do.

2. Make the most of it

You’re not going to be at University all your life (unless you decide to study forever and become a lecturer) so make the most of the time you have there. Try different things, go out, explore, maybe even join a club or society. One day you’ll look back at your University days, so make it something to remember.

3. Don’t forget what you’re there for

Coming from experience it’s important to keep the right balance between work and play.

“Work hard, play harder”

There is nothing better than celebrating success. Having a good night out after finishing exams or finally handing in that assignment. But don’t be that person with nothing to celebrate.

Hope you enjoyed my post, See you soon 🙂


Course, Coursework, Exams, Free time, Future, Island Experience, Portsmouth, Reflection, The city, Uncategorized, Uni Life

Two Years Down, One To Go

I feel like I should be feeling a lot more relieved right now than I actually do. I HAVE FINISHED MY SECOND YEAR AT UNIVERSITY. Wow.

There are so many mixed emotions which come with finishing a year of study. On one hand I feel immensely proud of everything I have done. I have achieved so so much and come so far in the last year. Yet also I feel quite sad. The looming reality of life after uni is starting to really dawn on me. One. More. Year.

It’s insane how quickly the time seems to be going; it feels like mere months ago I was a fresh-faced first year, battling my way up the stairs in Bateson Halls armed with a load of cooking utensils I would never take out of the packaging but needed ‘just in case’, ready to meet my new housemates. It feels like weeks ago I moved into my house I have now been living in for 8 months. I feel a little scared if I’m honest.

I can’t believe my time at Portsmouth is slowly but surely drawing to an end. My heart is sinking as I am writing this just to think about the prospect of leaving. I am so blessed to have spent the time here that I have. A year seems so far away: so much will happen in that time… And yet I think back on the past two and fear that the third will disappear into memories just as quickly.

For now, I am going to enjoy the sea, take trips to my favourite little cafes, exploit the fact we have countless outlet stores at Gunwarf Quays, ride my bike around the most flat city ever and breathe in the sea air! I love Portsmouth so much. I am going to make the most of my remaining time here like I have tried to for the previous two years. I am lucky enough to have the advantage of my course finishing early, meaning I have free time to appreciate Portsmouth.

To all students here: enjoy your time here, do not take it for granted. To future students: coming to Portsmouth will almost certainly be the best three(+) years of your life. And to myself? Here’s to the next and final year!

Course, Graduation, Other University Factors, Uni services, Year Abroad

Options and other concerns; the final year


It’s funny how a new year has just begun, but important and endless things are worrying so many minds: the final year.

I see how students are rushing with their projects/dissertations, trying their best to make a good impression, to be recognised by their efforts and getting the so valuable diploma. Nonetheless, their worries do not end there. Nor mine did.

As a student, especially as an undergrad student, most of the times we can live for a while without being concerned about the future. We are just enjoying life, discovering all the possibilities and thinking about the subjects we are being taught. But as the graduation reaches its end, other concerns start popping out of our minds “what’s next?”, “what should I do now?”, “Is this really what I want to do?”

Fascinating questions, I must say, but so terribly uncomfortable, most of the time, to answer. For some, following to the next level of education seems unavoidable: but exactly which one? For others, business or industry lie on the table: but am I ready? Do I have the right curriculum for that position?

Fortunately, our University offers great support in terms of careers advice and business startup. If you are starting to struggle with these questions, have a quick look on the Purple Door website. Even if you want to add some work experience, volunteering or find a part-time job, you’ll find plenty of information over there.

Nonetheless, my experience says you must be proactive when it comes to finding other options after your undergrad. Not all of us have the same expectation about the future. Some are keen on experiencing the job market, to experience some hands-on work and contribute with what they have learned. If you are one of those, you should seek some guidance from supervisors from each school in order to ask for some useful information. For instance, in the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences a group of students applied for the Society of Economic Geology Student Chapter, which is a wider organisation, and now and then they invite people from the industry to come and have a say of what it is needed from young geologists or how the market has been for the past years. Following these initiatives, they organized a trip to the Imperial College of London for a General Meeting of the SEG. Loads of things were discussed over there, as the UK and EU strategy concerning vital metals and ore exploration, scholarships and jobs opportunities related with the H2020. Several employers from different companies came to have a say about their experience and how they got there. It was a good “wake-up call” for those students wanting to pursue a mining career but still had some doubts and concerns of ‘where’ and ‘what to do’.


Since the Natural History Museum is so close to the Imperial College, we went there for a quick peek – Dodo, picturing as the extinct bird endemic from Madagascar.


Not a Spacesuit.. no. This is a high-temperature enduring suit, made for surveillance and research on volcanoes


The itinerary for our Students into Mining sessions

I’m positive several other initiatives like this one are and will happen around the UK and most certainly at the University as well. If not, do encourage your lecturers to do so.

As for those of you thinking on masters/PhD degree, the University of Portsmouth has a good range of courses, each year is improving its offer, and several students, after it, have been employed. You have MA/MSc and MRes, usually the first takes 2 years to complete while the later is a full-year only researching. You can book a place to be part of the open day, where clarifications of this sort and much thoroughly are given – Open Day Masters.

As my personal view, I do think going abroad should be on your to-consider-list.

It does look good on your CV, it is much more than just living by yourself (you might have already done that yet), and it is not only partying (if that passed through your mind!). Going abroad can also be less expensive. Considering the living costs of the UK and the fees of a postgraduate course, considering living in an EU country is not completely nuts. Even if the rank of the University is not as high as the University of Portsmouth or other institution in the UK, having a diploma from a different country (though do check its eligibility outside the country) means lots of things that the person who is checking your CV will perceive: means learning a new language, adapting and adjusting to a foreign culture, practising much more social and communication skills, enduring hard situations, experiencing different views and ways of work. You can have a quick look on the top European Universities here. You can search by country or by ranking.

You can still have this experience and be in a UK University. Just check the ERASMUS+ website and do a little research on the requirements and choices you may have. You can also apply to a fund, that can help you out during your ERASMUS.

With a quick search, you can have an idea of which countries in Europe have more attractive living costs, accessing Numbeo.  I would recommend (obviously!) Portugal, Spain or France as possible destinations. These are countries that speak the most spoken languages in the world (apart from English and Mandarin), with welcoming people (increasing towards the SW) and depending upon the subjects with recognized education systems and research. Just be aware that they don’t always have information written in English. That’s easily overcome by sending an email to one or more lecturers of the School you fancy. They can give you all the tips you need.


In case you need some “motivation” to go abroad… (SW of Portugal)

Times are getting harder for everyone. The economy is not so good, the Market’s trust is not as good and therefore, job opportunities and vacancies in Academia are getting reduced. Of course, now and then, mostly due to EU funding, there is still some places and scholarships. If you don’t mind internationalization, some countries are developing and would appreciate young brilliant minds working for them. But don’t be surprised if you don’t find the perfect job right away or if it doesn’t match your expectations, seldom they don’t. With time, patience and dedication you will get there.





Course, Portsmouth

MA Digital Marketing… What is it?


So, as I’m slowly getting deeper into the first semester of my postgraduate year and more in depth in my course, my first assignment’s due date is reaching and I think that I’m kind of nervous but more excited overall to hand in my first assignment! I have about another week to go, but I still need to focus and give in a great essay.

If you don’t know already, I am studying MA Digital Marketing,  a course I really wanted to get involved to as soon as I saw it on the university’s postgraduate course list, since I have always been passionate about all things related to Internet , online marketing , social media and of course blogging! So far my course has been all about marketing theories, analyzing systems of a marketing plan as well as a few business concepts but pretty soon we’re going to start working on practical tasks and applications, such as Photoshop since the university has very gratefully given us MacBook Air laptops to work on! (yep, you read that right 🙂 ).

I basically have only two classes for each semester and in this one, I’m currently studying for Essentials of Marketing as well as Digital Marketing Strategy Development and Management. They sound hard, but both are extremely interesting and I personally have learnt a lot so far about marketing that I didn’t know even existed!   Essentials of Marketing is more or less about the most important theories of marketing in depth, while in the Digital Marketing Strategy Development and Management class we are currently analyzing the different systems that marketing has to analyze and promote a company’s elements and characteristics. By the end of this semester, we will also have to present business proposals to clients as a part of our project for this specific tutorial – so the pressure is really on!

Next semester I’m going to be attending another two classes called Digital Media Development & Application and Contemporary Issues in Marketing, which I don’t have much to say about them since they haven’t started! However, judging from their names, the first one is regarding the different applications that we’re going to use on the Macbook through marketing prospectives, while the second one will be examining the current trends in the marketing world.

Summarising, MA Digital Marketing is extremely intriguing and stimulating for anyone that is interested in modern – day marketing. From my point of view,  I’m learning so much about this field, so I would definitely recommend it to anyone that wants a career in marketing as this specific program is incredibly diverse with great support from professors.


I know it’s irrelevant but I wanted to share with you a selfie of my friends and classmates on Saturday(17/10) , where we went to Pitcher and Piano restaurant in Southampton! Great times 🙂

XOXO Ntina

Course, Other University Factors

My University Journey

How to sum up the last four years? That’s a difficult question.

Overall, I would say that I have loved my course and everything I have learnt and experienced through it. But University is not just about the course you choose to study, its a number of other factors. At university, you learn to be independent, move away from home, juggle responsibilities and build friendships. These were my challenges. I haven’t had the best luck or experience with housemates over the two years I lived at university, this final year has been the best as I live with my boyfriend and have finally got a great group of girl friends on my course.

First year, living in halls is a new experience and you have to embrace it. At the time it was ok but looking back on it now, I remember the bad bits more than the good. Having to live with four boys and one girl, I didn’t really get on with had its challenges. Second year, I nearly broke and left university due to my housemates. Luckily I found my boyfriend at this time and he helped me through. From these two living situations, I am not in contact with any of the people I lived with, I guess that sums up a lot. Even Placement year, living at home with the parents and earning money, wasn’t what I had planned. The job opportunity I organised in the Caribbean fell through at the last minute which lead to the back up plan, which wasn’t as good and caused a lot of stressing at the time. But I guess every cloud has a silver lining, my last year has been the hardest in terms of course but the best. I feel I have found myself and who I want to go on to be. I want to be strong and confident, to enjoy life with all my family and friends that I have made for life!

I am proud of myself for pushing through the difficult times as it has made me the person I am today. I have got a university degree under my belt which will always hold the strong memories of ups and downs in the last four years!

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…