Coursework, Future, Student, Study, Time Management, Uncategorized, Uni Life

Tackling the Dreaded Dissertation

I shall begin by letting you know my dissertation is almost definitely different to yours. Mine is split into two halves, both worth 50% of my final grade. My first half, a 10,000 word creative piece, was due in December. The final half is my essay, due at the end of April, like most other courses. Luckily this submission is only 5,000 words!

Having already done the bulk of it in December and receiving a good mark in January I feel I am in a good position to discuss how to tackle them! I am well on my way to finishing my first draft of April’s submission now and am finding myself with even more tips for the essay.

1. Start early!

You will hear stories about the girl who did it in 16 hours and still managed a 2:1. Okay, maybe that girl was super-woman and managed it but chances are she’s lying. Start reading and making odd notes over the summer between second and third year. Buy a journal/notebook and start noting things down – potential questions, interesting points on the subject area, a little reading list, the occasional quote you’ve found, chapters of particularly useful books (ANYTHING).

2. Read! Read! Read!

You cannot write if you do not read. Start collecting some useful books or at least titles you can look up. Use the library website to search for books, journals and articles which may be of use and write them down in your notebook. Print articles off and get highlighting! Once you’ve done the reading you can start the writing. Little and often, little and often.

3. Pick something you’re genuinely interested in.

This is so so important. How on earth are you going to write 10,000+ words on something you don’t care about?! Don’t dread writing your dissertation because you aren’t interested in what you’re writing about – that’s no fun! Pick a topic which you can’t wait to find out more about, pick something you are motivated to research and make your essay something you’d want to read. Don’t see it as a chore but as something you actually want to do. I am excited to learn more about my subject. The beauty of dissertations is that you can pretty much do whatever you want, within reason. You can tailor your research and question to a topic which you are enthused by.

4. Do the bibliography as you go along. 

DO NOT leave the bibliography until the end. It will seem like such a chore! Portsmouth has an absolutely incredible referencing tool – so good that other Universities use it! So make the most of it! If you haven’t got to grips with it yet this tool is sure to help you – it’s a real life saver. You can compile your bibliography before even writing your essay. Every time you read something put it in your bibliography, fully referenced. That way, when you are writing in your essay, it’s already there ready and done. You can always keep adding to it and if you find you don’t read a source you thought you would then just take it out.

5. Make a note of where you found quotes.

This is crucial and I, along with many others, have fallen into this trap too many times. I was determined not to make life difficult for myself with this ever-so-important assignment. When you find a quote and copy it into your journal or word document ensure that you know the author, date and page number for citing. There is nothing more frustrating than having a perfect quote but no idea where you found it, or knowing it’s somewhere in a 500+ page book with no hope of tracking it down again without reading the entire thing cover to cover. If you don’t make note of where you got it, that quote will then be unusable and wasted.

6. Book as many tutorials as you possibly can.

All courses are different. With some you may only be able to show one draft, but with others there may be a lot more flexibility. I was able to book pretty much unlimited tutorial slots and took full advantage of this. The more feedback you have before the final submission, the more likely you are to do well.

7. Create a document or page in your journal with loads of useful quotes divided into sections/topics to use at ease when you are writing.

I have found this to be so immensely helpful. Whilst writing now if I need a quote I just consult my document with all my useful sources in. I simply copy and paste the most relevant one out of my already carefully selected quotes. Making this document is a good place to start before you actually begin writing because that way you have everything already ready and set out for you.

8. Take breaks!

The beauty of starting early means you have lots and lots of time. It is so important to take regular breaks away from you work so you can come back to it with fresh eyes and a clear mind. It will be much easier to proofread and to improve it if you’ve taken a step back. Work on it solidly for a week then leave it be for a week and come back to it. Breaks are incredibly healthy and will make the process feel a lot more natural and easy.

Good luck everyone, if you’re halfway through yours now or you’re just looking to get an early start on next years!

It is with a heavy heart that I remind you this is likely to be the last thing you will ever write for submission at the University of Portsmouth. Enjoy it!

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Health, Home, Student, Uni services

‘It’s okay not to be okay’

Often around this time of year people get homesick, the peril of freshers has blown over, a routine kicks in, deadlines approach, days are rather short, the weather’s rather gloomy and it’s easy to find yourself stressed to the max and a little down in the dumps.

Just Remember…

“it’s okay not to be okay”

Not everyday is going to be a great day. But there are sure to be many wonderful great fabulous days. And if you’re ever finding it hard to cope don’t be afraid to seek help and support! You are not alone…

Family

  • You may be hundreds (maybe thousands) of miles apart but technology these days means they’re only a phone call or text away. Be sure to stay in contact. And if you find yourself with a couple days off or a long weekend, why not give them a surprise visit?

Friends

  • Plan a few days/nights out every few weeks. Whether it’s as a reward for finally finishing that piece of coursework or just a break from revision. Nothing beats a good time with your friends.

Uni

  • Our university has an amazing Health and Wellbeing service. Having used it myself, I personally found it very useful. They offer one-off workshops and longer courses on topics relevant to students such as mindfulness and dealing with emotions and stress. They also provide a range of online resources, the staff are lovely and friendly and it’s absolutely free!!! So if you’re interested in personal development, want some advice or guidance or are feeling rather stressed out i’d recommend giving it a try!

ALSO

This Wednesday the University Wellbeing Service hosts the ‘Wellbeing Festival’ which will include a variety of activities and lots of information!

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More Information:

Information on individual topics

List of upcoming workshops this term

On a slightly lighter note we’re half way through the term. YAY! A well earned break is closer than you think.

Happy Monday,

Antonette

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Home, Reflection, Student, Uni Life

“What’d I miss?!”

As some of the eagle-eyed amongst you may have realised, the title of one of the songs from the musical “Hamilton”, which recently I have become absolutely OBSESSED with. I can wrap “Guns and Ships” almost perfectly and know near enough 70% of the words to the rest of the musical. However, some of you may also have noticed I haven’t blogged since November…last year…. I could make lots of excuses but the main reason has been that work in year 2 is a whole step up from that in year 1. The course this year contains a number of group projects so you can see why I have been slightly stressed and away! So in case, you were asking me….”What’d I miss?!” I thought I would share a few photos and things that I have been up to since November last year!

In November I turned 20… I was very thankful to have a very long birthday as I celebrated with my family and friends. For my party, I wanted to unleash my inner child so we headed to Playzone in Hilsea which was amazing!  We got the train and then walked which was a lot cheaper and a lot easier than getting a taxi and I would highly encourage it if you want to go but are a little low on money! I also managed to beat my nerves and go down the red slide, which was very scary but I would definitely do it again!

 

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My birthday “Millie’s Cookie”!

The lead up to Christmas was slightly mad, to say the least, but was probably the most enjoyable time so far! I was lucky enough to present the “Bingo” section at the Annual Members Meeting with Andy, the science faculty rep! It was good fun and I loved my time on the stage!

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Every weekend in December I disappeared back home to present “Radio Christmas”, a charity radio station that raises money for “Street Kids Direct Uk”. It was great to be back on the radio every weekend for two hours on my show that I named, “Tinsel and Tunes!”. The radio station was created in somebody’s house which was a very new to me  but an amazing experience  nonetheless and I want to thank everyone at Radio Christmas for their support and feedback!

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In the studio for Radio Christmas.

When I left University for Christmas and finally settled at home, the run-up to Christmas seemed longer than usual, but maybe the 5-year-old in me was still too excited!! I could write a whole blog post about the run up to Christmas and the days themselves but what I can say is that they were amazing and I was very lucky and grateful! I was so excited to see all my family, some who I do not get to see that regularly at all so was great to catch up with them. Below is a photo from Olympia the international horse show. Being a horse rider myself this always gives me so much enthusiasm and inspiration for the sport.

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Olympia- the horse show.

 

This year I am aiming to get fitter and healthier and beat my time in the Great South Run from last year and jump more confidently and higher on horses.

I will try and get back into a routine with this blogging businesses but until next time…

Rhi

🙂

 

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Future, Job hunting, Student, Uni services

Purple Door Are So Underrated

If you are a student at the University of Portsmouth there is no way you’ve got this far and not heard about Purple Door. Just in case you have managed to miss their existence altogether (really where have you been?) Purple Door offer support to students, and even graduates, on career planning, work experience, volunteering, part-time jobs, placements, business startup and graduate jobs. They will do anything from helping you find a little job for a few hours a week, to just chatting about what you think you might want to do, to helping you write or polish up a CV, to working towards that all-important application to your dream graduate job.

The classic phrase I seem to come back to time and time again is I am a worrier by nature. I am a worrier by nature and so the idea of graduating in a few short months is just terrifying! I am so scared of ending up with no job or, perhaps even worse, a job I absolutely can’t stand and feel trapped in. I don’t want to be living off my parents in my childhood bedroom for the next 10 years. I am determined to succeed!

So, last week I went to Purple Door. I had been once before to discuss part-time work but it had only been rather brief. You can book in-depth 40 minute meetings for careers advice and the like but also it is probably easier to just walk in. On both occasions I have just walked in. They’ll ask for your student number and name and then you’ll sit and wait for a couple of minutes whilst someone becomes available.

The man I spoke to was incredibly patient and listened to me babble about my uncertain future. I had brought in a recent CV which I knew needed a little makeover. I thought this would help him to assess where I needed to go from here before applying for jobs, in terms of experience. He went through it thoroughly, bit by bit and we redrafted a new one.

He told me that the nature of my field means I can’t start applying yet. Employers who are recruiting now for my industry will need someone who cans start pretty much immediately. Jobs in other fields like law or engineering have graduate schemes and will begin scouting and interviewing around this time, and even earlier! As a writer and aspiring editor/publisher there is little I can do in terms of graduate jobs right now. In a few months I was advised back to Purple Door with my newly formatted CV and I can begin the job hunt!

For now, I just need to keep on doing what I’m doing. I need to keep my eye on job websites to help me see what is out there and the kind of things I would like to be applying for. The Guardian Jobs is a great one, as well as using the Purple Door search itself. I need to calm down and remember I still have time to get my life all figured out. I’m only 20! It is comforting to know that Purple Door will be there for me for the next 5 and a half years if I need help. Going there restored a confidence in myself and my achievements. It made me excited to start the next chapter of my life as a graduate. I can’t wait to see what the future will hold.

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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.

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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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Student, Uni Life

Let me introduce myself…

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Three weeks into the first term of Uni and the work is already piling up. Today I am tasked with planning two assignments due this month and roughly 30 pages of notes from the past week’s lectures. YAY ME! I am so fortunate to be a part of the University, not only as a student but as an Ambassador and now a Student Blogger and am really looking forward to taking a break out of my schedule to share my memories, experiences, advice, tips and ups and downs of my student life. I really want to share with everyone a summary of my first year in my next post and it would be great to hear what you would want to hear about, so if you have any questions about my course or being a fresher in general, please feel free to comment below   🙂

I thought I’d just start of today by introducing myself…

London bred and born, slightly over-organised student, currently in my 2nd year studying Biomedical Science at the University of Portsmouth.

That’s me in a nutshell. I’m a lover of life me. My motto is to live life to the fullest. I try my best to live up to this at Uni but unfortunately my course comes with a rather hefty workload. Nevertheless, when I find the time I enjoy spending time with family and friends, exploring the outdoors and photographing anything that looks remotely interesting. I’m on a mission to stay fit at Uni this year, that includes morning runs on the seafront and weekly home workouts. An unfortunate knee injury has prevented me from continuing my passion for sport over the past few years but I am determined to join at least one sports team this year to get back out there. I also hope to do lots of travelling in my time on this earth. I just love setting my feet on different parts of the world, experiencing different cultures and taking in all the natural wonders of life. I am yet to set foot on all 7 continents but that is my lifelong goal.

Enjoy the rest of the weekend,

Antonette x

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