Moving House

Moving In For The First Time

This week I’d like to talk about settling into your new place.

For most of you, this will be your first real excursion in living on your own and it can be absolutely daunting. I remember this time last year, I was sat with my parents in the living room and going through my list of stuff I needed to take with me and I was surprised I didn’t bring the kitchen sink. I genuinely could have lived off of the stuff in my room and never ventured into the kitchen. I had that much powdered milk, sugar, coffee and snacks.

However. Now is your time to decorate your room how you would want it. Whilst most Universities have a rule on posters and blu-tac, however, with a few command strips from a local supermarket or Amazon, you are more than allowed to put them up.

For lights, usually if your accommodation won’t give you a bedroom lamp, you’re more than welcome to travel down to Argos where (I got personally) some nifty little bedside table lamps from their colourmatch range that are touch activated and yes, like a child in a sweetshop I played with them for hours.

Then comes other decorations. Funko pops and figurines can really liven the place up a little bit, even some flowers or growing your own pot plants in your windowsill. It’s something quite amazing when you can have a chilli in your cooking that you grew earlier in the year and it has a sense of “I’ve saved a little tiny bit of cash” by doing so this way.

So that’s another thing to look into. However, books are your best friend (or video games if you’re like me). They can fill a room with your hobbies and your pleasures then it genuinely brings that feeling on homesickness down a little bit. Even having a huge photo collage of all of your family and friends from home can help ease the pain a little.

So when you get into that dorm room, remember that it’s yours for a year. Go and make it a home.

Until next time!

Conor ^-^

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General Advice

Living For One

Okay so I’ve discussed previously about batch cooking and why it’s so useful, but I’ve not explained why you should do it.

I learnt personally a lot about cooking before I came to University, I always wanted to appear on a programme like MasterChef or The Great British Bake Off when I was growing up, and me being a teenage boy at the time… yeah… that doesn’t usually go down well with bullies so I had it as my “forbidden passion”. So when I arrived at University, I was so used to cooking for six, that it was hard to transition into only cooking for a single person (and pasta is still pasta no matter how much time you give it, you will always use too much) so I looked into basic foods that could be made on a budget and stored safely in the fridge and freezer space I was given and that would last me the whole week.

Over time I’ve gotten better at this, and thanks to moving into a flat of my own, I’ve now got enough space to bulk buy in the start of the month and then just simply top up each week with stuff I need, like perishables, and a few tips I’ve picked up are here:

Ask Your Parents For Cooking Tips
So at the moment, I’ve been saving up as much as I can so what I tend to do is spend very little on food. When I was at my lowest, I brought four packs of sausages, then 7 days worth of noodles and frozen veg. This would be good enough and healthy enough that I would survive on about £5 a week on food, whilst I was spending so much trying to fix my computer so I could actually do my work. Ask your parents/carers for any tips they might have. You never know, they will have gone through something very similar when they were our age and might know some stuff. My mums tip to me was for a “chicken dinner”. Get some instant mash, chicken slices for sandwiches (or beef or ham), some bread, frozen veg, and then some toad-in-the-hole style Yorkshire Puddings, layer the chicken slices around and place cooked frozen veg, mash and maybe some gravy if you feel up to it and then eat it out of the yorkshire pudding. It might not look like the most appitising dish, but it definately has that student feel and filling appeal of a Sunday dinner.

Whilst my dad gave me the tip of “befriending your local takeout”. No, seriously, my dad apparently got Christmas cards addressed to the stores “number one customer!” each year…

Excel Spreadsheet of Money In and Out
I gave this tip previously, but one of the things I’m quite proud of is my spreadsheet. It tells me all of the money I have outgoing and incoming each month and will tell me an estimate of what I should have by the end of the month in both of my bank accounts. You can usually find these online or make one yourself. You then have the added bonus if you make one yourself by putting “Excel Spreadsheets” on your CV.

Washing Clothes
I have four pairs of jeans with me, enough underwear and plenty of t-shirts. Jeans (nearly) never need to be washed. Honestly. It’s amazing. T-shirts and underwear can be all handwashed, which makes the only real thing you need to wash is bedspreads and towels. I personally go to a laundromat because I don’t have a washing machine in my room and then leave them hanging up to dry on clothes horses during the day and the next if necessary.

Exploring Your Hobbies
When you’re at home, you’re probably going to be used to playing games or reading books all the time and now you have your own money, you might be tempted by that £100 collectors edition of your favorite game, or a limited edition signed hand-written book by your favorite author (seriously, if anyone has a copy of Robert Muchamore’s CHERUB in handwriting, hit me up), and that’s perfectly fine. However, you have to hold yourself back. Save it as an end of month thing. Each month you buy yourself something new, then after a year at University, you’ve saved some cash and gotten used to that feeling you get when you can read a book and feel like you’ve earnt it.

I hope these tips help you out as much as they helped me survive my first two years at University,
Until next time!
Conor ^-^

General Advice

Stress

Hello everyone my post for this Thursday afternoon is about Stress. Going to university and or starting working is a very stressful time in your life, there is many changes especially living away from your parents or even on your own for the first time.
I found that some (well a bit more than some) of the things I got very stressed about in my first two years at university seemed silly when you go back and think about it much later. Many of things I got stress about are things I couldn’t change so was kind of pointless worrying (not that, that ever stops me).

These are some Tips I have used that works most of the time.

If your doing something and getting very stressed (for example revision, job application, preparing for interviews etc.) take a break. When your stressed your won’t be very productive and it won’t help at all. Take time to calm down and do something you find relaxing. I often listen to music and have a little dance and have a wonder around or watch an episode of my favourite TV show (when stressed a tip is to stick to comedy to cheer you up). Sometimes leaving the flat or house an going for a walk just to clear your head can also be very useful. Then go back to it later. Which can calm you down so you get on with it.

Also don’t hide yourself away. When your get stressed you start overthinking everything (truly everything). Get out and talk to others. Talking through what’s stressing you out can really help. Even if this isn’t face to face and its on messenger or even a phone call don’t stress alone it only makes it worst. Even if your not confident enough to do this just having a casual chat about anything helps so much in the sense of distracting and calming yourself down. which often helps giving yourself a better sense of perspective so you can think about your problem more logically and often it doesn’t seem as bad as it did earlier.

Also doing little things like writing down or making a lists of the facts of what is worrying you, this can be helpfully as again it tends to make you think more logically, which is what you normally don’t do while stressing (which is one of the worst bits).

I hope some of you blog readers find this helpful.

Until I post again, Samara

Relationship

Write Letters!

Hi everyone Kathryn here, so it may seem like my last few updates have been all doom and gloom, but for today my advice is guaranteed to put a smile on somebody’s face. * So today my advice is to write letters.

Writing letters is something that me and my boyfriend do when we can’t see each other for weeks on end, we’ll write a letter and then the other will keep it in our bag/ draw/ wherever. So that when we feel down we can read the letter and feel a bit more positive.

Yeah, you may be thinking what’s the point? Stamps, papers, envelops all cost money and surely it’s far easier just to pick up the phone and give them a ring. And the thing is while you can ring and text people sometimes I find that it feels more personal writing a letter. And it means a lot more to the person receiving the letter because they know that you’ve gone to the effort and taken the time to write the letter.

The other positive of writing a letter is that you can keep the letter and treasure it, when my boyfriend sends me letters I’ll put it in a box full of memories. And I know I’ll keep those letters forever.

While I’m talking about writing letters to help cope during long distance, this doesn’t have to be relationship specific, and you could write letters to friends and family and see a smile spread on their face when they open that letter.

So, write a letter and put a smile on somebody’s face, you never know you could be making somebody’s day by writing a letter. And that’s all from me for today, until next time, Kathryn.

* My boyfriend told me that he couldn’t stop smiling after reading the letter.

Work Advice

Don’t expect to know Everything!

Starting a new job is never easy, especially if you have just come from university; you may fall into the illusion that you already know everything. You may think that because you’ve attended the lectures and achieved firsts in all of your modules that you know everything.

So when you start work and you get stuck on something you can get very demoralised, (especially if you’ve asked for help- and it’s a five minute fix). However the thing is your boss, your co-workers, everyone, no-one expects you to go in there and know everything.

That’s why when you start work there is normally an induction process, they are teaching you how things work, and it is there to bring you up to speed on some things that you need to learn that you may not know already. And even after the induction process you are still allowed to ask for help and ask questions.

Yes, you may have done really well in university, but a working environment is very different; you may find that you end up doing something in a different way to the one you were taught, and you have to adapt.

And of course University can’t teach you everything, there will be things that you do in work that you haven’t learn’t in University and that’s what one of the things work is; a learning experience. And while your working there you will start to learn more.

Anyway my tip of the day is that don’t start work expecting to know everything, because you don’t, and don’t be disappointed that you don’t know everything. You are at work to learn new skills and improve your old ones.

So that’s all from me for today, until next time, Kathryn!

Moving House

Don’t Isolate Yourself

Hello everyone Kathryn here, and first of all apologies for the lack of updates recently, I ended up using all of my mobile data and not having enough to update the blog. So this evening, I’m holed up in the library and using the computers.

So today I would like to continue from one of my previous blog posts where I empathized the importance of getting out of your flat. However today I would like to stress how important it is to talk to people and not isolate yourself.

Living on my own was one of my biggest challenges, it was something that I never thought was possible yet here I am in my own flat and managing perfectly okay. Yes, you may be sitting there thinking but school, university, work is really hard, how can you say living on your own is the hardest thing?

And yes, school and university are both challenging, however the big difference between that and living on your own is that when you’re living on your own; you are as it says on the tin; you are on your own. When you’re at school or university chances are that you’ll have lecturers, teachers and friends to ask for help. However if you are living on your own you are for the most part alone.

Yes you will still have colleagues, lecturers, family and friends to support you but for the most part you have to figure it out for yourself. And whilst it is hard to figure it all hard, one thing that it’s really easy to do is to isolate yourself.

When you’re living on your own it can be really easy to feel down, and because you are on your own it feels that sometimes there isn’t anyone to pick you up when you’re feeling down. We can end up feeling that we’re alone in the world, when in reality our friends and family are only a phone call away.

And my advice to you is to not isolate yourself, if you keep talking to people on a regular basis it will help you feel like you’re not alone. Just keep talking to people, whether their colleagues, friends, family or even just cashiers. If you don’t you will end up feeling isolated and cut off from the world.

 

Relationship

Why Everyone Is Right When They Say: “Move On Before You Start University”

So today I’m going to talk about romance with University and all that jazz surrounding relationships before University and I’ll start with that little saying: “If you’re in a relationship with a person back home and you’re at Uni, it’s not going to work.”

This is true.

Nine times out of ten you are never going to stay with your secondary/middle/high school partner, and it’s namely down to maturity. You may think you’re the most mature kid at school, but when it comes to love, no one really is. You haven’t seen the world, you’ve been stuck in your home town.

For example, when I left for University, I was in a relationship during my first year and it messed up a lot of chances I had to make friends. You don’t wanna have the embarrassment I did of having to explain to my closest friends at University that “I haven’t told her about you all because I know she doesn’t want me to have other friends”. Which is such a fun convosation.

Okay, so maybe all pre-University relationships aren’t like my previous horror story.

But you still have to be aware of the fact that it simply won’t work. You are now in a new place, a new city, a new country even! You will meet like minded people like you who want to succeed, and like me you will find someone who loves you for who you are, that you can connect to, can go out and enjoy hours and hours of walking around shops and pondering stuff like “What Hogwarts house would the characters from such and such a film be in”.

I look back on my first year with regret. I missed out on a lot of things, meeting new people, I got to a point where I was so afraid to go on Facebook and say I was heading out to meet a friend because I knew that I would have a game of 20 questions over their gender, their close partners, everything!

Even then, regardless of if they are or are not like that, you still end up missing out on a lot of opportunities, one of my first flatmates ended up leaving his course, simply because he missed his girlfriend back home too much and I know that he will one day regret leaving University, because it’s a whole new world.

We missed out on going out with our flatmates, seeing films and going off to different festivals and the like, simply because we were always on the phone, stuck, in an eternal loop of ‘how is so and so from this street.’ We were so holed up in our rooms, we barely got to see our University in all it’s glory.

So my advice is this, and it follows suit with so many other people, like Rhett and Link (also check out their song about graduation, it’s so funny), don’t stay with someone back in your hometown.

It simply isn’t going to work. Tensions will rise because you are off doing revision and they are wanting to talk to you every second and you just can’t. The revision you get for University can’t be treated like a college assignment anymore, it’s a career, something to give you an insight into what you will be doing for the rest of your life. You will also end up being reminded each day of home, and your family. Homesickness is not a nice thing to suffer from, especially during exam season after Christmas. So don’t let someone stop you from that, from enjoying your life, simply because they are not there.

Until next time!
Conor ^-^

Getting a Job Advice

always have a CV ready!!

Hello all, my tip for this Thursdays afternoon is to always have a CV  at the ready. Even if your currently not looking for a job take the time (when you have a moment free) to get a plan/draft of one written up and it will honesty save you time later as you will only have to personalised it to the employer and the job description.

I have never had to write a CV from scratch for years I have always just improved the one I had already written, going all the way back to when the school made us write one in year 10 (hated it at the time but it was somewhat useful).

This is also very helpful as a record of results and details so it doesn’t take you ages to look them all up when its needed.

You truly never know what going to happen.  You might need one at short notice and you don’t want the stress of havening to write it all overnight .

Until I post again, Samara

General Advice

Nothing Lasts Forever!

Hi everyone, Kathryn here and I have more or less spent the day wondering how on Earth September is just two days away. And it made me realise that this year has gone really quickly (much too quickly for my liking).

Yes, admittedly in June when I first started my industrial year the days seemed to stretch on for years. But looking back on it the first 1/4 of my industrial year has gone by really quickly.

And what I’ve learnt over the past few months is that no matter how long the days will seem, nothing lasts forever and time will soon fly by.

If you give yourself something to look forward to it can feel like time is going faster. (I already have things to look forward to in October and November).Just remember nothing is forever, no matter how hard something seems, it will be all over soon.

And that’s all for me for today, until next time, Kathryn.

University Advice

Undertaking A Resit Examination

I apoligise for my lack of updates over the past week, I recently resat my Artificial Intelligence examination last Thursday so I had to sacrifice some of my pleasures so I could study more, and unfortunately this was one of those.

The first time around, I was given two days and I realised when I was walking out of that examination I was destined to fail. I didn’t expect to pass. But I knew that I was going to be able to resit. So I took that chance.

I sat down with my girlfriend and she helped me plan a revision schedule, (I’ve never been good at focusing, I get distracted way too easily) so after she left for her Industrial Year, each morning I would do some early morning revision until about 12PM, then break for lunch, then do more revision until the evening when I would spend time talking to her on the phone and via texts.

I got into a routine, and that was the way I like it. So much so that even now I’m finding it hard to break out of that routine. This is my advice for today.

Don’t worry about your retakes. They’ll go a lot better the second time around. Talk to your friends, let them know that you didn’t pass. They might be able to help you out as much as they can, take a load off your mind for instance or help you unwind where they can.

The second time around, I walked out of that exam hall feeling more confident about that exam than I have ever felt about any exam retake I’ve done.

All because I let people in to help me and yes, I fell at some points, I stumbled, but where I stumbled, my friends helped me back on my feet and I knew that I could do it.

Don’t stress too much. Take some time to do the things you want to do, whether it’s walks, playing games, or reading books. Enjoy yourself. Just make sure that you do a little bit of revision every now and then.

Until next time!
Conor ^-^