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 🙂

Antonette

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International, Portsmouth, Student, Uni Life, Year Abroad

The Countdown

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Roughly fourteen hours.

 

That’s how long it takes for a Bangladeshi student (such as myself), to take off from Dhaka soil and land feet first on the British Isles. As I type this, I haven’t really landed yet, I still have roughly two and a half hours to go, but then again, I don’t really feel like I’ve left yet at all, so I don’t see why actually being somewhere, or not being somewhere should matter.

And, yet, the irony is – it always matters.

 

It matters for those of you, who are traveling just a couple measly miles, those of you who are travelling cross county, and maybe a little bit more for us internationals.

 

Excitement, urgency, nervousness – it’s like everything around me is a maze of turbulent emotions that I have no idea how to navigate.

The funny thing is, this isn’t even my first time living away from home to study. It is however, the first time when I won’t be just an hour away from home – wherever home is.

 

And to be absolutely honest, that terrifies me.

 

This here today, is life without safety nets.

 

How so?
Think for a moment, of all the tiny little things around you that make you feel at home.

 

The things that make you feel safe. The things that make you feel like you belong.

 

The people that look like you, food that tastes like an explosion of spices with every bite, the endless traffic, the weird inside jokes you had with the friends you’ve known way back when you thought bright green eye shadow was ‘cool’.

 

It’s a bunch of ridiculously random, often pretty stupid details that you never really thought you’d miss.

But you kinda do, anyway.

 

Honestly, I’m not even sure I’m ready to think of any of that – some call it ostrich syndrome, I call it, knowing better.

 

The truth is, I don’t know what this year is going to be like for me. I don’t think any of us do.

So, I’m not going to sit back and worry myself into a frenzy – I may not get to choose how I am going to feel, but I sure as hell have a say in terms of how I’m going to think.
And, the only thing I can think of right now though, is that for the next twelve months, I am going to need to find a way to make, this little corner of the world – where the sun rises five hours after what I’m used to – feel like home.

 

It’s going to be an amazing journey – I can only hope you’ll tune back in and share it with me.

XOXO,
Nami

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International, Portsmouth, Student, Study, Time Management, Uni Life, Uni services, Work experience

6 things International Student needs to know

For most international students, coming to study in the UK can be exciting, or intimidating. In order to enjoy both studying and living abroad, it is crucial to be fully prepared. After staying in Portsmouth for 8 months, I’ve spoken to a number of international students and marked down a few things that international students have to think about before arriving in the UK.

  1. Research

It would be good if you speak to anyone already in the UK or the alumni from your country. I’ve asked my friend who is a graduate from the University of Portsmouth and she helps me a lot in the process of applying the course. The next step is have a look on the University website for an idea of the things you might need to consider. Besides, don’t be afraid to contact the university directly to ask about the course details or other arrangements. Besides, there are always local advisers or agencies that provide details on studying in Portsmouth. Learn about the clubs and societies here at the University of Portsmouth.

2. Be academically prepared

If English is not your mother tongue, try to improve it to a level where you can feel confident about using it both academically and socially. Check out Global café in Park Building on every Wednesday, you will be able to meet friends from all over the world.

3. Working in the UK 

International Students usually pay a higher tuition fees than domestic students. Luckily, the Purple Door supports students to find jobs or career planning. Getting a part-time job not only provides some extra money, but also an opportunity to extend your networks and improve your language skills.

4. Student accommodation
Accommodation is one of the most important things that you’ve to concern about because this is where you’ll spend most of your time, meet your first friends and where you have to sleep! Normally you will get into student halls as an international student, here are some advice on choosing student accommodation.

5. Freshers’ Fayre

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This is a week held at the start of the academic year which involves all the way from induction to huge bar crawls, find your way around your campus, clubs and societies and start to get used to living in the UK. As an international student, you’ll find some particular events that are designed for international students such as coach trip to Brighton or Oxford.

6. Finally, the Weather

The weather in UK is unpredictable. Even if the sun is shining, rain clouds can quickly appear and result in short, heavy downpours. Make sure you bring appropriate clothing and always carry an umbrella (even though sometimes it’s too windy to use an umbrella).

 

 

As always, feel free to ask questions or add anything else in the comments below. 🙂

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Portsmouth, Uncategorized

Onto the Final Project!

Hello!

This semester was full of course works, proposals and reports that needed to be handed in at similar deadlines and therefore I had to really commit in delivering them correctly and on time. I’ve spent probably the last month and a half in the library with classmates and friends studying non-stop at the University’s library, trying to get everything organised and prepared as the workload was overwhelming, compared to the last semester of university. Thankfully, everything was done and ready on schedule.

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After everything was handed in, I went back to Cyprus to spent some time relaxing with family and friends before I start on my final project. The final assignment that students in the MA Digital Marketing department have to do is simply building a digital marketing campaign either with an existing business or with a business that students want to create themselves.

I personally have chosen to work with a real business and I was lucky enough to find a hair and nail salon located outside of Portsmouth that needs help with the digital marketing aspect of their business.  Therefore, I will spend my summer here trying to study and improve the business’ image. However, I will also try to have a vacation during this summertime, as I’m already planning to go to Athens, Greece to visit my friend there, so I can’t wait 🙂

How do you plan on spending your summer?

XOXO Ntina

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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!

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Free time, Music, Portsmouth

Sing your heart out….

I’ve never really been a confident solo singer, sure I’ve sung in choir, theatre productions and done the odd gig with my sisters for mother’s day concerts but I have never really sung solo.  Admittedly I did sing karaoke at the Student Union one night but I am assuming no one was really focussed on my singing.

So when Becki (the director of OmniArts where I volunteer who is also a singing teacher amongst many other things) asked if I would sing at her Earth Hour Unplugged Event I was excited but also very very nervous. I would be performing in front of her other students (I did not know) and would be singing acapella (without music/backing track) so I would have to rely on the power of my voice alone.

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Earth Hour takes place towards the end of March every year  and is organised by the WWF. It aims to encourage people to switch off their lights for an hour to help promote environmental causes. It started as a lights-out event in Sydney, Australia in 2007 but since then 7000 cities and towns worldwide partake in the event.

I arrived early to help Becki set up and light the huge array of candles and believe it or not it got very hot very quickly! It soon felt like a wonderful atmosphere with snacks galore and the whole room lit up by candle light.

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Bit Blurry but these were the candles and fairy lights! 🙂 

I sung first and I was very nervous, the first song I sung was I still believe from Miss Saigon as a duet with Becki and then I sang My House from Matilda the Musical. Both these songs were filmed so keep an eye out for those!

Standing up and singing acapella is very different to singing with a backing track. With a backing track you have the main tune hidden in the accompaniment somewhere so you can be sure as to what notes your singing. Singing acapella is just you and your voice. After we had all sung our set we had a discussion about how we felt it went and what we found scary about it. For me, I had no one in the audience (apart from Becki) I knew so I was singing in front of complete strangers which I had never done before as normally my parents, sisters, grandparents or friends are always at events to support me. After this we were all encouraged to sing another song and I chose For Good from Wicked. By this time I had become comfortable and apart from a few gear change issues (changing my register) I performed this song well.

This event has really boosted my confidence and when Becki and I were tidying up after we had a nice little sing song of some more classical musical theatre songs. It was a lovely atmosphere and I hope I get to do something like this again.

 

*Should anyone want to find out more about Becki or have singing lessons here is her facebook page https://www.facebook.com/beckishortsinger/?pnref=story*

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Coursework, Exams, Portsmouth, Student, Uncategorized

Intense Times!!

Hi!

We’re at the middle of March and the pressure is on! I will have to submit a 5,000-word report on a topic of my choice, a 4,000-word proposal for a paper cut artist and after that I will have to start working on my final project, which is basically working with a business in order to improve their digital presence and promotion. I know a lot of students are in the same situation, trying to get everything in order and done before Easter break so they can go back to their countries without too many worries on their minds.
I have been spending these past days at the library as well, trying to get everything ready, as I might be heading to Athens, Greece at the start of April so I want to have most of my assignments done before this trip.

 

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A good tip that I always follow and I urge other students to do so as well is to start early. Even if the assignments are due in a month or the exams are after Easter break, always start as early as possible. Students need to utilize the time that they have efficiently and not take it for granted because days pass quicker than we think! So by having time to study, students can re-examine and analyze their course’s requirements as many times as they can. You know what they say: practice makes perfect 🙂
What is your technique at being prepared for assignments or exams?
XOXO Ntina

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