University – Hannah

17 Dec 2014

24th Aug

I’m travelling across the water to University, so I’m apprehensive about getting everything I need bought in time… and then there is the problem of trying to fit it all in some suitcases and ship it over! There seems to be an endless list of what needs done, sorting student finance, securing accommodation, switching banks to get the best student account. Just hoping I get it all done in time! 馃檪

31st Aug

It is now two weeks to go until the big move oversea to uni! This week has been all about trying to sort flights for travelling over to university and making sure I have enough room to carry everything over.

聽With most halls the very basics are provided, so that means I have to bring cooking utensils, cutlery, and crockery for the kitchen AND a duvet, bed linen, pillows etc for my bedroom. There is definitely more to think about than I first expected and I was beginning to think that moving overseas wasn’t going to be easy… or very fun. Although; knowing I wouldn’t be able to fit everything in a suitcase and after a bit of research online, I found a useful website called ‘uni baggage’ where you can ship a 30kg item for under 20 pounds. Score!

Also my parents are coming over with me, they are going to stay in a hotel for a few days and rent a car. My mum thought it would be a good idea so we can travel to ikea and buy any last minute items, stuff I forgot to bring, or stuff that was just too big to ship. At least that way I know il definitely have everything I need. Maybe il learn moving away it isn’t all that complicated! 馃檪

7th Sept

10 DAYS TO GO. I’ve just left my part time job to make time for clearing out my room and packing everything up. This week I have booked appointments for EVERYTHING before I set off, and the list seems endless. I am going to have an eye test, a contact lens fit, go to the dentist, get a meningitis jab (apparently meningitis is more susceptible to you if you’re in a large group of teenagers, oh.), AND get my hearing checked (yes… specsavers really do do that now.) I also had a day of house shopping to get bedding, even though I’m buying everything over there I realised when I got there I wasn’t going to have anything to sleep on that night,聽 whoops!

I’m starting to get nervous about meeting the people I’m going to be living with. Although, my halls have let me know my room and flat number and there are a few Facebook groups online that everyone has been chatting in to find other people from their accommodation or their course, so I’ve spoken to a few already! Everyone is in the same boat really and they’re all apprehensive too, so I’m no different!

Also this week I have had a look online at some of our fresher events and they are SO COOL. There is an unbelievable amount of stuff to do so you can meet other people with similar interests, from white water rafting and cadburys chocolate tasting to Alton towers and a harry potter tour! I had a look at some of the societies I might want to join in uni too, stuff like amnesty international and protesting for human rights, then sport societies like women’s football and netball! It’s making me so excited!

15th Sept

This week has been the final run up to the big move. I have spent the week trying to get a box big enough to fit my stuff, and it hasn’t been easy. Finally got one from a packaging company and I have successfully filled it with 25kg of cute stuff for my room (not necessary stuff I might add, just cute stuff.) I have pictures, storage boxes, pots and pans, duvet set, bedding, ornaments, then have 2 suitcases of clothes to bring also!

I’ve had to say goodbye to all my family and friends this week, which has been really hard. I was out for lunch with different people every day, so it’s been really busy! Although, the majority of my friends have planned trips already and some of them are leaving Northern Ireland for uni too, we can all meet up over in England and I’ll see them in a few months when I’m home for Christmas, so it’s really not that bad!

Also this week my mum has been teaching me how to cook, or trying too. So far I have learnt how to make stew, different soups and pasta (well, it’s better than toast I suppose!) I’m definitely worried about the cooking aspect of uni life but I’m hoping il learn soon enough or at the very least, I have a flat mate who can cook!

I’m moving in 2 days so right now I’m a bundle of emotions, nervous, sad, anxious.. but I’m definitely more excited than anything!

23rd Sept

i’ve finally moved over to uni! i’ve been in my halls for 5 days now, and i was apprehensive that i wouldnt get on with my flat mates, but they are all lovely! i live in a flat of five, there are three other boys, a girl… and me. It’s a good idea to bring a doorstop, so you can be social and aren’t completely locked away in your room the whole time. I havent cooked much for myself yet but the kitchens are very well equipped and ive done a massive shop with everything i need, so im going to have to start learning!

this week has been full of freshers events and partying at night… draining i must say!

I also had the induction for my course this week basically its just a welcome to uni where they give out your reading lists for what books you need and your timetable. We did a bunch of icebreakers and a treasure hunt around the city to get to know eachother and our environment better.

Also on facebook im in a group of people from my course, so i asked if anyone would like to meet up for coffee this weekend before class begins, everyone loved the idea! so we all went for coffee and got to know each others names and backgrounds, hopefully seminars and lectures will seem a bit less daunting that way!

28th Sept

My welcome week at uni is just over.. my uni had the biggest welcome week in the uk with over 500 events, so ive been busy! There is literally everything you could imagine and stuff for everyone to do during freshers. This week i took part in netball trials, ice skating, and a massive sports day where there were teams from different halls on campus.

Last week i felt a bit lonely… while i sat in others were heading out and it felt like everyone else already had their friends, but I’ve made friends with people from all of the events and my facebook friend list is definitely growing! There is no need to be nervous about making friends, trust me! You have the opportunity to become mates with your flat mates, people from your halls, people from your course, people in your lectures and people from the societies you join.

Tomorrow marks the official start of uni lectures and seminars, so I’ve printed out the notes the lecturer put up beforehand so it will be easy to annotate them in there. Some lecturers don’t put them up before and wait till after, if they do this I would just write what they say down on a file page and print an annotate the slides after. I also recommend excessive use of the library- its definitely linked to the classification of your degree!

6th Oct

I had my official start of uni this week, which consists of lectures, seminars, workshops and tutorials. Its very different from a normal school day because I’m only in for about 2 hours a day! (although, thats because you are expected to spend the rest of the time in the library reading or conducting your own research) It can be a bit daunting trying to find the lecture theatres on your own, getting lost, maybe arriving a few minutes late… but it happens to the majority of people in their first week… just set off early!

University is also very different in the way that they don’t keep track if you attend or not, some might do a register occasionally but if you weren’t there they mightn’t even notice, and they are not allowed to ring your parents. Although this can seem like a good thing it means you need to keep yourself motivated to get to class and up to date with where certain events are located making sure you’re there on time, they wont wait for you!

I have 3 different modules this year which all run alongside each other the whole year. Some subjects may have 8 modules, but only a few are done at a time for a shorter period. It can be quite confusing so I have different folders colour coded for my modules, that way i know I’m bringing the right ones to lectures and seminars.. otherwise it would be just like turning up to maths class with your english books! This week I’ve definitely learnt organisation is the key to success at university. Organise, don’t agonise!

13th Oct

This week at uni I feel I’m in a better routine. Ive met all my lecturers and they have got through the forms, administration and the lethargic bit explaining the course, now I’m actually getting in to the real learning, phew! Already I have been given briefs for assessments from 2 different modules this week and received dates for handing them in. At university they give you an hour time slot to hand in your work… if you miss it you automatically fail, unless there is a special reason for needing an extension eg you are sick or have a family problem. There is no need to worry about that though, you are constantly reminded of it, believe me! It seemed to me they were very quick to tell us of our assessments, but that is a positive thing, it means there is more time to work on it!

Also importantly this week we have been given ‘critical writing’ classes. There is a difference between uni and school because you don’t write essays, you write what they call ‘reports’. Referencing in your reports is very important too, as plagiarism is a big deal in university. Your university will teach you how to ‘reference’, its basically just giving the credit to whoever you got the information off, easy. And once you get used to writing your reports referencing is second nature, so im told!

20th Oct

This week for me has definitely been classified as ‘#studentlife’ I AM SO BROKE.

This was bound to happen after settling in and the first few weeks of partying and buying the necessities I forgot I would even need- from baking trays to washing up detergent.

SOMEHOW I have managed to live on 20 pounds this week… and here’s how…

1) No social life.

I have barely set foot outside my room except to go to Uni this week, dozens of events are taking place and I’ve somehow had the willpower to say no.

2) Low cost grocery shopping.

I couldnt afford to go to tescos this week, it had to be aldi’s best. Surprisingly I have found there is little if no difference and I will not be setting foot back in tesco- yay!

3) Cooking in bulk.

I made three big meals. Spaghetti, curry and stew. Those lasted me dinner every night and ive had rice krispies for breakfast everyday! I also didn’t buy my usual coffee in costa after a lecture setting me back 2 pound everyday and I didn’t have many sweet treats this week.

Surviving a week is one thing but I couldn’t do it for the next three years. I need to learn to control my spending. Student loan doesnt always stretch very far!

26th October

This week was a stressful week for me! Firstly I had been set an assignment to be done. It was a group project to create a ‘moodboard’ (Im doing a fashion course so it was based around trends, but it could be on anything!) Basically our group all thought of different concepts, went and researched them individually and then came together and stuck photos we had taken to be presented to our seminar group on an a3 board. This assignment was definitely a fun one!

The week was going well, until my purse was stolen. One thing I would say is NOT to keep everything that matters in one place! I lost my money, debit cards, my travel cards, the keys to my uni accommodation… and my student card. At my university you can use your student card to pay for everything on campus from the art shop to something like a costa… so I had a lot of money on there. i think altogether I lost about 200 pounds, in student talk that is a month of living expenses! Lets just say I have learnt my lesson and ALL my valuables will not be carried with me at all times!

2nd November

I have had a busy half term because at uni you don’t get halloween off! Some courses give you a ‘reading week’ which is time off that your supposed to spend reading around your subject and doing independent research or other work you have had building up over the term. Generally arts students get them, science students get them less often because they generally have less reading and coursework/more contact time so can’t afford to miss a week. It is just at your course/university’s discrepancy whether you have one. Some people just go home/relax in them, others use them for revision and catching up. Unfortunately I didn’t have one!

I’m not really complaining though as this week I went on a field trip to London with my course. We went to the Victoria and Albert museum and went through a few exhibitions to do with fashion because they were closely related to my course. Field trips definitely don’t happen very often at uni so it was fun to get to do something a bit different than sitting in a lecture theatre. Also it allowed us to interact with more people on the course, because there is over 100 of us I know half of the people’s names, now i know a few more!

10th November

I finished my first assessment this week, and it feels good! (although I have three more to do before christmas.) It was only an 800 word report which isn’t very much, about 2 pages. That was because the lecturer wanted to give us formative feedback before we did the full 2500 words so we wouldn’t be wasting our time or be writing about the wrong thing… which will be helpful in the long run.

Also this week me and the friends I’ve made here have started to look at housing for next year, i know, crazy right?! But its useful to start thinking about who you might want to live with and get idea’s of prices and locations. We dont want to pay too much or be too far from uni that we wont want to get up in the morning! Its normal to start booking your house for next year from as early as christmas. And I know some who have organised it already.

This week I’m flying back home to see my family for the first time in two months, so that will be exciting. Im a tad nervous about flying on my own, but we’ll see how it goes!

17th Nov

I haven’t much to update you on this week. I have had a fabulous week at home for the first time in 8 weeks. It was brilliant seeing my family and most importantly… getting things for free!

I have done nothing all week but relax and catch up on seeing friends that I haven’t seen since I left. I have also eaten my body weight in my mums cooking, I dreadfully missed that!

It has been brilliant to be home but I also cant wait to get back to uni, I miss all my friends over there too. I guess that is the pleasure of knowing people in more than one place!

23rd Nov

I have spent this whole week at a gazillion house viewings trying to organise our accommodation for next year, its been busy! Im living with 5 girls, all of which are very picky… and it has been such a drama trying to keep everybody happy.

I think I must have viewed about 17 houses this week, ranging from nicer than my house at home to ones that had mould on the walls – ew. We finally found one we all liked and had our hearts set on, and it was the closest house to the uni! We all paid a 20 pound reserve fee, which keeps the house as ‘reserved’ for 2 days till we can think it over and decide if it was the best option, which we did. I was so glad the stress and house hunting was finally over, and we verified our i interest with the estate agent and then got the contract sent out- much to our dismay!

聽When our parents read over the contract it wasn’t what we first expected, the terms of the contract said we would pay for 12 months- not economical when we’re only at uni for 7! And there where a lot of other problems. So, unfortunately, it was goodbye to that house! But at least now I know the importance of reading the contract and not taking things at face value- this week has taught me an important life lesson, and so… the house hunting continues!

30th Nov

This week was the last full week before term, I finish on december the 5th and all assessments and group projects need to be submitted before then. This week I also have to book an appointment to see my tutor to get ‘formative feedback’ from a formative assessment I completed a few weeks ago. So this week is go go go!

A formative assessment is one that develops a students learning and skills, but does not count towards their final grade points.

A summative assessment is one which does result in a grade, and shows how well you have achieved the learning outcomes. Luckily i don’t have any summative assessments until my final year after I have completed a placement year… so i’ve got a while to practice!

I was a bit nervous about meeting with my tutor to get feedback as it seemed very formal, but it only lasts ten minutes and I am in a group of three; so hopefully it is more relaxed than I first expected. Also the tutor said she would drop an audio note of all of our feedback in an email, so I will know how I have done generally before I meet with her. Then I have another assessment to complete for her over christmas, yay. (Well, I do get a whole month off I suppose!)

14th Dec

Ive been home from uni for a week now and its great to be home, not have to cook for myself or pay for washing, and actually having a dishwasher that isn’t me!

Im definitely not bored at home, because luckily a few weeks ago my old manager texted me asking if I wanted a few shifts back in my old job over christmas! So 12 hours after I was back in NI I had already gone back to work. It was amazing to see all my old colleagues and get back into what feels like routine at home. Unfortunately now I will have to leave all over again, but at least I can work off some of the overdraft i gave accumulated buying christmas presents- whoops!

I’ve been working so much I’ve barely had time to catch up with my old friend. But they aren’t all off uni yet, some are still living in Belfast and others over in the mainland… so i’ll have to wait until closer to christmas to meet up with them all. Im also already missing the friends I had made back in England, its strange not seeing my flatmates everyday and cooking dinner with them!