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, 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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Architecture, Course, Halls, Home, Reflection

Looking Back: First Year

Thinking back to this time last year, I was finishing off my A levels and awaiting results, working a bit and spending time with family and friends. I had no idea what my first year of University would be like, and to be honest I don’t think I could have predicted it. I had a year of ups and downs, at some points I was so happy and wouldn’t have changed anything, at other times I wanted nothing more than to be at home curled up in my own bed. Realistically I chose to come to Portsmouth for completely the wrong reasons, but now I’m looking back, I wouldn’t change anything.

The best thing about this year is the people I’ve met. Yes, you go to University to get a degree, but it’s a well known saying that the friends you make at Uni are friends for life. One of the things I loved about Halls was that I met people and became great friends with the type of people I wouldn’t have met otherwise, due to having different interests and tastes, and living hundreds of miles apart! Despite all that, by the end of the year flat A.1.1 and A.1.2 of James Watson became like a family to me, probably because we are all completely individual, which meant we all had something special to add to the group. Saying that, I didn’t necessarily like living with them ALL the time, only because I have a slight OCD when it comes to kitchen cleanliness, and it turns out that most boys don’t really enjoy washing up! (or wiping surfaces, or the oven, or even moving their dirty plates from the side)

Aside from the friends I made in Halls, I also made some really great friends on my course (two of who I’m living with next year). I met loads of people from all over the world, which is great because you end up learning about different cultures and religions, and everyone has something different to add to one big idea.

After many ups and downs of this year – mainly doubting my own abilities and choices, seeing my results has made me realise that I CAN do it and I will do well. Not fulfilling my own potential has always been a fear of mine. However, I now know that all the effort and stress and tears that I put into my work has actually paid off. I went through the year not really knowing what kind of level I was working at, which I found incredibly frustrating as I had no idea whether what I was doing was enough. I’m hoping though that this year has built me a platform on which to raise during my second year. I think also that living in a house with two girls on my course will mean we are all there to support one another and make each other do our coursework! (or just distract each other even more)

In hindsight, I did choose Portsmouth for the wrong reasons, and there’s been times in the year where I have missed home, but luckily for me, I only live two hours away – possibly the only sensible reason I did choose Pompey. However, I’m happy it’s where I ended up. I’ve made friends for life and finished my first year with really good results. What’s not to be happy about?

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Course, Halls

Freshers Fortnight

As I write on the first day of October I’m thinking back to the first two weeks of being at University. So many emotions have been running through me in these short two weeks. There’s been the homesickness, the excitement, the initial motivation of starting new projects followed by the all to familiar feeling of trying to choose between having some more sleep or actually writing up my notes. I tried to make the most of ‘Freshers’ and in my terms I think I did. Three nights in a row was the maximum for me as I know I don’t function well on zero hours of sleep! I really enjoyed it though and think I found a good balance between social and nightlife to getting involved with my induction lectures and getting organised for everything to start properly.

I’m really lucky that I’ve bonded well with my flatmates and we all get on – we’ve organised ‘flat nights’ where we going to have games nights, take aways, film nights and so on. I think living in halls (James Watson for me) so far has been a really good experience. It’s so easy to make friends, as straight away you’ve met five new people who are all in your position, there’s automatically some common ground that you can cover. I also really like the fact that we’re from all over the world, we’ve got a Geordie, someone from Kent, Sussex and even Cyprus! It really adds a bit of culture – everyone eats different food and has different stories and ways of doing things which is really interesting to discover. We’ve also met quite a few people on our floor so it’s nice to have some other people to go and socialise with, just to get a change of scenery and see some different faces. It’s amazing how quickly you make friends just from meeting friends of friends and so on. I’m also lucky enough to know some people in second year as well so it’s good to have them around for advice and help with anything I need.

So far my course is going really well, we’ve already finished one project and we’re on to the next! I straight away realised that I was going to have to be dedicated from the start, there was no messing about from our lecturers in setting coursework and research tasks! I’ve found it all really interesting though, and as I’m studying a subject which I haven’t done before, it’s all new and exciting.

I’ve also joined ‘Pompey Snow’ the ski and snowboard society. They go once a month to the Milton Keynes SNO!zone, so I’m really looking forward to the first of those in a few weeks time. On top of that, they a run a Christmas and Easter Ski trip and this year they’re to Val Thorens and Les Arcs respectively.  I’ve been to Val Thorens before, so I’m hoping to go with Pompey Snow at Christmas as well! Joining a society is a really good way to meet even more people, and especially to meet people in second, third and even fourth year. They have weekly socials at a local pub on a Sunday, where everyone just chills out, has a roast dinner and a drink. It’s a really friendly atmosphere and a nice way to end the week.

It’s so strange to think that already I have been here over two weeks. In some ways it’s gone quite slowly, it feels like we’ve been here ages just because the people I’ve met I could have been friends with for years. I’ve learnt so much in the last two weeks though, like to always put detergent in the washing machine, and to make sure you’re heating up the right hob ring when cooking pasta! I’m enjoying living as a student, having to look after myself, make my own food and clean up after my cooking, (which some of my flatmates seem to find difficult!) but it does go without saying that I am definitely looking forward to going home this weekend and having Mum cook my dinner!

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