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

Options and other concerns; the final year

Howdy,

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’.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

Ciao

Inês

 

 

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Other University Factors, Portsmouth, The city, Uni services

WHO WOULD SAY?

So this is my fifth day in the city and I must say I’m feeling somehow blessed. Seems like the good weather welcomed me to this beautiful city and so far so good.

I was worried about how friendly people were going to be and whether people would be distant towards me but it turned out I had nothing to worry about. I arrived Wednesday morning and my supervisor offered to come and get me at Gatwick and had lunch in Brighton until the other Brazilian PhD student would arrive. That was my first bump with hospitality. Incredible. Brighton is such a beautiful place! And the sun just spoiled me. Such a great welcoming. It took a while from Gatwick back to Portsmouth, but it was great to see some of the roads and landscapes heading towards the south.

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A view of the sea at Brighton’s seafront

It’s kind of tricky starting a life in the UK. Many things to deal with once you get here. So, the first one was getting somewhere to stay for a few days. That was not a problem because, and again as like a ritual amongst people of SEES, I had someone giving me a roof for the first days. Not only the roof, but every tip and help I could have wished for. Wow!

Next step? Paperwork.

I have a research council bursary so I just needed to give a few more steps to complete all the needed paperwork. Get a bank account, an address and a national insurance number. For those who are living for a long time or were born in the UK it might sound weird, but those are actually big issues for international people. It is not that easy to open a bank account or dealing with all the rest. So first of all, for anyone starting, go find your supervisor and people responsible for you in Uni! Things can be much easier. Luckily, since I’m Portuguese and there are such good and friendly people in Portsmouth, I didn’t have to ask for the Uni Letter for banking or else I would have to wait a while longer to get an appointment in Lloyds, which at this time of the year is quite booked.

I also found friendly and professional staff at the “Bursary Office” who just helped out with all the other requirements. They were helpful and thoughtful. I’m just amazed. And yes, everything can be solved or adjusted with this friendly team.

Back in SEES I had the chance to meet more staff, to get to know some other students and have a tour around the building. We even had a reception party Saturday at my supervisor’s home, to meet all the group researchers. A good chance to taste UK’s curry as well.

Since I’m staying in PO4 I had the chance to stroll to the centre of the city by the seafront promenade, during this fantastic sunny day. Though the beach is made of pebbles it actually made me wonder if I could skip my duties and have a sun bath instead.

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There are such interesting facts about Portsmouth, some you can catch up with by just having a walk in the seafront

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A proof that you can have a warm and sunny day, with flat sea, in the UK.

This week I’m headed to Bristol for a couple of days, an opportunity to get to know ‘rocky’ freshers and a bit of UK. I know that the good weather is now leaving and that rain will catch up, but is going to be great the same.

How was your first week at Uni?

Cheers,

Inês

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Uni services

Library tips.

Well, thanks to being in third year, and writing/editing articles all the time, I’ve been spending an awful lot of time in the library.

Here are my library tips.
1. Be quiet. It’s a library, not a nightclub. If you want to talk to your friends super loudly then The Union is pretty much next door.
2. Use the right study area. Group study for stress-free chatting and if you want to eat your lunch, quiet areas if you want to work in peace.
3. Be considerate. Not everyone wants to hear your phonecall about last night’s escapades.
4. Don’t be rude to the staff. I saw someone swear at a librarian the other day because the book she’d just taken out had been reserved already and there’s really no need.
5. Make the most of it. The library’s there for a reason!
6. Don’t eat where you’re not supposed to. You’re at least 18 years old now and following rules isn’t that hard! Stop chewing your gum so loudly as well.
7. If you’re wearing headphones, don’t turn the music up to full blast, thereby defeatign the point of headphones altogether.
8. Don’t be afraid to use the self service machines. The news ones are actually really easy to use.
9. Take a break now and again. Or you could end up like me, finding everything and everyone annoying.

The university library is a brilliant resource that we’re all really lucky to have so make sure you get down there one day and actually use it!

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