So much to do, yet so little time Part I

So just how do you balance juggling your studies, part-time job and extra-curricular activities at university? Well it’s hard to say, as there is no real right or wrong way to go about it. The important thing is that you find what works well for you and stick to it.

Below are a few tips on the sort of things you could try in order to stay on top of the work load and still have an amazing social life at uni. I must admit it’s not easy but it is possible. These tips are in no particular order, but they are just some of the things I think will help you during the course of your degree to manage your time better so that you can ace all your exams and still have an all-round amazing student life experience.

 

Clock-and-calendar

 

Tip#1:  Have a calendar

Either the one on your phone or a hard copy or even both, just in case technology fails (as it sometimes does). Make sure you note down important dates and keep checking your calendar or set yourself reminders, because at uni if you don’t remind yourself of that coursework that is due in next week…yep, you guessed it, no one else will. So make sure you keep referring to your calendar/personal planner.

 

Tip#2: Be realistic

Do you have the time to go to that friend’s party? Can you really afford to go to different club/society meetings 3 or 4 times a week? All I can say for this section is that you can’t please everybody. You have to get your priorities right. If you have the extra time to spare then do so, but not at the expense of you falling behind on your studies. So just remember to stay on top of things. But if you ever feel it gets too much just take a step back, a deep breath in and speak to someone you trust like a parent or guardian or maybe even a friend. You could also speak to your personal tutor or lecturers if you feel you are falling behind on your studies and I’m sure they’ll be more than happy to help you get back to where you really should be…which is at the top!

 

Tip#3: Prioritise

This kind of stems from the second tip about being realistic. It is so important that you prioritise otherwise you may find yourself in a rather sticky situation. Prioritization is key, it is one of the most important skills that you need to get to grips with at uni whether you like it or not. I learnt that in second year, because you will find that as you progress from one stage to the next in your studies the work load does intensify but life still goes on. So what do you do when you have conflicting priorities? Well, the honest truth is that you have to choose one or the other.  You may find yourself in a situation where both things are important, but then you have to ask yourself which one is of high priority? Which one needs my urgent attention? Which can be done later? By asking yourself these questions and many others it will make life a lot easier in deciding which activity should take precedence over the other. It’s not always easy to do, but unfortunately it has to be done.

 

Tip# 4: Stop procrastinating

You know those lies that we always tell ourselves…the classic ‘I’ll do it tomorrow…next week…next month, I promise’ but somehow tomorrow never seems to get here until exam season or a day before that coursework is due in, then the real panic kicks in. Avoid procrastination at all cost. Use every second, minute and hour of the day wisely because time is a very valuable thing. Once it’s gone, it’s gone, you can’t get it back. There is a popular proverb which says ‘Time and tide waits for no man’ which when I searched on google the definition that I got for it was ‘if you don’t make use of a favourable opportunity, you may never get the same chance again’ And that is so true. So please, let’s not waste any more time by procrastinating.

 

Tip# 5: Avoid getting stressed out

When everything seems to turn upside down and you can no longer hold it in, most people just explode, get stressed out and cry their eyes out. But guess what after you’ve finished crying and getting stressed out, your situation doesn’t change, it still remains the same. So I have learnt over the years that getting stressed out is a total waste of time. So instead of stressing yourself out, remain cool, calm and collected. I know it’s easier said than done but trust me on this one it actually works.  What I have found is that instead of getting stressed out and working yourself up into a frenzy, the best thing to do is to count to 10 and take a deep breath in. No matter what situation you find yourself in at any point in your life always remember that it’s not the end of the world. No condition in life is ever permanent, everything is just a phase. Sometimes in life you’re up and other times you’re down, it’s just the way life goes (basically life’s a roller coaster), so don’t kill yourself by getting stressed out and bottling it all up. Find someone you can trust and let them know how you feel and they may just be able to either find a solution to your problem or put you in contact with someone else who has the solution for you. Remember there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. So keep on going because you never know how close you are to your goal, so don’t give up on it by succumbing to stress.

I would like to leave you with this verse from the Bible to help all those who are currently in a very stressful situation because they are at a point of their lives where there is so much to do, yet so little time.

John 14:27 (NIV):  Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

 

Dove

Things to do over the summer

Thank God exams are over and summer is finally here – well kind of… just without as much sun. Three whole moths to ourselves, to do what we like, when we like, how we like, no more time tables, no more 9 O’clock starts yay! Well done everyone for all your hard work throughout the exam period!

 

happy

 

 

So just what are some of the things you can do over the summer….

Well here are a few suggestions from me

Get a summer job- a great way to gain new skills, contacts and of course the best part of it all… Money! (Shopping here I come! – oh yea don’t forget to save some of that money)

Money

 

 

Learn a new skill- we’ve got 3 months, so might as well. Some examples are learning to: drive, sew, cook, basic first aid, speak a new language, play a new instrument, budget properly… I could go on, but I won’t because the list would be far too long

cooking 1

 

 

Reading- This is the perfect time to broaden your horizons and expand your knowledge, so it’s high time you sink your teeth into some good books

reading

 

 

Meet up with old friends- summer couldn’t be a better time to meet up with old friends as most of them will also be on their summer break, so it’s time for a reunion.

friends

 

 

Go on holiday-it doesn’t necessarily have to be in another country, it could just be somewhere else in the UK. A holiday is a holiday… get a way for a couple of days and let your hair down

holiday

 

I mean I could go on forever about some of the other things to do over the summer months because quite frankly the list is endless.

All I can really say is to find something that you really enjoy doing and do it over the summer and obviously don’t forget to get enough rest, so that when you come back in September you are ready to go, go, go!

 

Have a great summer guys! 🙂

 

Step Up

Hi guys,

Hope all is well.

I know some of you are still trying to recover from January exams and the results that you may have attained. Whilst others are busy trying to juggle course works, extra-curricular activities and a social life. But what most of us probably all have in common is that we couldn’t wait for the January exams to be over and done with, so that we could get a break  from it all. But hey, you’ve just found out that you won’t be having a break any time soon because you’ve got yet more course works to complete, class tests, extra-curricular activities and yep, you guessed it…more exams in May/June.

 

To be honest, it can all get a bit too much and really overwhelming at times, but one thing you have to remember is that in this life there will never come a time, when you won’t have to juggle a lot of things all at once. It’s just one of those things in life. The only way to get around it is to:

 

Accept it

acceptance speech

 Embrace it

embrace

Make the most of every opportunity that comes your way

opps 1

 

 

Because there are a lot of people out there who would happily trade with you to be in your position.

They would happily trade with you, if it meant that they could have the opportunity to go to university.

They would happily trade with you for the opportunity to be young again.

They would happily trade with you for the opportunity to not have so many responsibilities.

 

So that is why it is important that you keep working hard and powering through your studies and all that life has to throw at you. Because you will never get this opportunity again, so make the most of your time here at Aston. Get involved in Uni life, even if it does get a bit stressful at times, especially when you have so many other things all happening at once – you’ve just got to keep powering through. One thing you have to remember is that university is not just about getting a degree, it’s also about character-building , and the only way to do that is by stepping out of your comfort zone and getting more involved.

 

Because what you don’t want is to sit down in a couple of years time with a long face and a long list of regrets saying “I wish I had…”

regrets

What is that thing that you’ve always wanted to do, but you don’t think that you’re quite good enough to do, or never seem to have enough time in the day, week, month or year to do it. Now is the time to Step Up to the challenge and make your dreams and visions become a reality!

Making the most of your time at University

Hi all,

It’s now week 8 and to be honest, time just seems to fly by, 3 more weeks and you would have completed your first term at university. That is why it is very important to make the most of your time at university because trust me these next 3 or 4 years will literally just fly by. I’ve decided to write a poem for this blog, just thought I should try something different. Hope you enjoy it 🙂

 

 
Independence

 

University is a place where many come to gain independence. To discover themselves. To grow wings and fly to great heights.  It’s a place where lifelong friends are made. A place of happiness and joy.

 

But it can also be quite a lonely and stressful place.

 

Moving away from home can be very difficult, leaving behind your family and friends. Leaving behind your comfort zone… into a world of the unknown.  All this for a better tomorrow. Sometimes you sit and ask yourself, is it really worth it? When you see some of your friends who decided not to go to university living it up… they have their own money and they’re certainly not accumulating the kind of debt that you are.

 

Sometimes the workload just gets too much and you just want to throw in the towel and just give up.University can get so stressful at times, especially when you allow the work load to pile up-“I’ll do the work tomorrow” is what you’ve been telling yourself for the last 8 weeks.

 

But you know what, better late than never. This is the time for you to turn around your life and make the most of your time at university by being the best that you can possibly be. This is the time for you to put your head down and draw out a 1, 2 or maybe even a 3 year plan for yourself, because in this life you only get one shot, “opportunity knocks once in a lifetime”.

 

So make the most of your time at university by making everyday count! In the words of Nickelback – you have to live each day as if it “Was Your Last”.

 

Placement Search

Hi guys, I know that you guys are just in your first year and still trying to find your feet at university and probably looking for a placement is the last thing on your mind. But I know that there are some of you out there that are interested in getting a summer placement in your first year. So as I’m currently in my second year also looking for placements, I felt that it is only right that I share a few handy tips with you. Enjoy!

Ok, I’ll be the first to admit it not many companies like to take on first year students, but if you start doing your research early you’ll be surprised at what you  just might find.

 

No.1 Research, Research, Research

A really good website to use for finding placements is Gradcracker because

  • They have a wealth of information about different companies that offer work placements (both summer and industrial) for students in engineering and technology
  • They have this amazing thing called ‘My Gradcracker’ which allows you to follow lots of different companies so that whenever new positions arise within the company for placements they will alert you through your email. As well as this ‘My Gradcracker’ allows you to track your applications, upload your CV and write about your key competencies amongst many other things. Other really good sources for finding placements are Target jobs, Aston Futures and the good old Google search bar.
  • Gradcracker only ever advertise paid internships-kerching!

homer money

 

No. 2 Make a list

Right… now that you’ve found which companies offer first year students summer placements, the next stage is to make a list of the company’s details. This list should include details about what the company does, so basically what they specialise in, their values, what the role they are advertising entails, the skills set that they are looking for in students who want to obtain a placement with them and the application process. Oh…and don’t forget to note down the deadline, the last thing you want to do is to try and submit an application form after the deadline- Not a good move.

homer.giphy

 

No.3 The application process

How are you supposed to apply for the job? You need to find out whether they are after a CV and Cover letter or an online application or even both. Does the online application involve a psychometric test? What if your application is successful? What does the interview process involve? Does it involve a telephone interview, assessment centre, in-tray/e-tray activities? These are just some of the questions that you should be asking yourself in order to prepare for the journey ahead. A lot of questions…I know, but it has to be done.

What

 

No.4 Get your CV and Cover letter checked out

At Aston we are extremely lucky because we have an incredible careers advice service, so make sure you use it! You can book an appointment to see one of the careers consultants in the careers and advice centre to have a look at your CV and cover letter and give you feed back on how to improve it. Appointments can either be booked online or in the main build on the first floor of the South Wing. They also conduct mock interviews, so if you are successful with your application you can also book an appointment for a mock interview. You can also use the Aston careers website for additional information and help.

Job interview

 

No.5 Aston Futures

Use Aston futures to keep up to date with the latest employer events, careers fairs and workshops. The careers fairs are an excellent way to meet with representatives from different companies. This is a great opportunity for you to ask them for useful hints and tips about making a successful application to their company. The workshops are also extremely beneficial because they give really good tips and advice on different things ranging from how to write a winning CV and cover letter to ‘How to ace an application form’ amongst many other things- Trust me, you don’t want to miss out! So be there or be square….

square bear

 

No.6 The outcome

So after you’ve done your research, used Aston futures, had your CV and Cover letter checked out and finally submitted that CV and Cover letter or completed that online application form. What happens next? Well either one of two things will happen. You’ll either be successful and be invited to an interview or an assessment centre or maybe even get a telephone interview 🙂 Or you’ll get a sad email telling you that on this occasion you have been unsuccessful 🙁  Either way, you would have learnt a lot from the experience which will help you a great deal when you’re in your second year like me searching for an industrial placement.

So no matter what happens, don’t be dismayed but….

Keep calm and carry on

 

Succeeding in your first year for Chemical Engineers Part II

I know that the title for this particular blog is called ‘Succeeding in your first year for Chemical Engineers Part II’ but regardless of what course you are currently studying at Aston University, I believe that by implementing some, if not all of these simple steps into your schedule,  will not only help you succeed in your first year at University, but it will help you be successful in subsequent years as well.

 

No.5

Exam Questions- Practice, Practice, Practice.

I can’t even begin to stress how important it is to practice loads of exam and tutorial questions. There are only so many questions that the examiners (lecturers) can ask you, so the more exam questions you complete the better equipped you will be for your Dec/Jan and/or May/June exams. After doing a couple of exam questions you will find that they are very similar in terms of the content and method, the only difference will probably be that they have used different numbers or different names in the exam questions but the concept is pretty much the same. When you first start doing these exam questions it’s always a good idea to use your notes to help you, but as you grow more confident or rather as the exam date starts to draw closer, you really should be aiming to complete past exam papers without your notes.  The reason I would recommend doing this is because in the actual exam you’re not going to have your notes by your side to help you, so you might as well get used to doing exam questions without your notes. Also by doing the exam questions without your notes you’ll probably find yourself making some silly mistakes-which trust me is a good thing! It’s better to make those mistakes now, than in the actual exam itself. It’s happened to me before and I was glad I made some mistakes in some of the exam past papers I completed because when it got to the real exam, I reminded myself not to make those same mistakes again. If there are some exam questions that you find particularly challenging, then get help from other students or drop your lecturer for that particular exam  an email or visit them in person- your lecturers will be more than happy to assist you. In terms of when to start doing exam papers I would recommend that you do them little and often, a good one or two months before the actual exam.

 

No.6

Revision

Whether you’ve got exams in Dec/Jan and/or May/June it’s a really good idea to start revision early, I would recommend a month or two early because from experience I have found that I tend to recall a lot more information from something that I did little and often over a long period of time compared to something that I spent a short amount of time doing a lot. I remember back at Sixth Form, when I used to search for some good revision techniques and I came across an article that compared revision to watering a plant and I have come to realise that it is so true. The article said that if you water a plant every day or every so often the plant will grow into a healthy plant, but if you water the plant every 1 or 2 weeks, by the time you go back it would have shrivelled up and died, and if you over water the plant it will still die because the plant’s roots would have been saturated with water. The same thing applies to us. If you revise something today and then leave a week or two before returning to that thing that you had revised, you’ll find it very hard to recall the information, so you end up having to relearn the same thing over again therefore not really making any progress-I’m talking from experience here. Or if you revise non-stop for 2 or 3 weeks before the exam, it may help you pass the exam, but as soon as you’ve finished those exams you’ll find that you would have forgotten most of it, if not everything that you spent the past couple of weeks doing. So once again you’re not really making any progress because you have to go back and relearn the content again. So the best thing to do when it comes to revision is to do it little and often because that way the information is more likely to be retained in your long term rather than your short term memory. Different revision techniques work for different people, but some good revision techniques that I would recommend are to re-read your notes  once or twice, highlighting any key points and then spend a lot of time doing exam past papers. Completing past exam papers several times is one of the best ways to really understand the module content, which will ultimately help you to perform better in your exams. So to summarize, successful revision consists of 4 main things- learning, recalling, practicing and most importantly being consistent.

 

No.7

Extra-Curricular activities

Get involved and enjoy your time here at Aston by getting involved in extra-curricular activities. Every year Aston Uni, holds a fresher fair at the end of fresher’s week which is normally on a Sunday and I believe this year’s one will also be on a Sunday, so make sure you attend and join some clubs and societies and I’m sure that you’ll find a club or society that takes your fancy. But if you can’t, that’s ok, just set up your own club or society-Happy days!  You could also try getting a part-time job or do some volunteering work. These are all great ways to gain some new skills and boost your CV.

By the way Aston Uni is currently recruiting Student Ambassadors for 2014/15, so if you’re interested in representing your Uni whilst earning some extra cash on the side visit: Aston University Student Ambassador Scheme  The deadline for submission of applications is midday (12:00) on Friday 17th October.

 

No.8

Reward yourself for all your hard word-Go on, you deserve it 🙂

University is not all about work, work and did I mention work? University is also about letting your hair down and having some fun before you go into the big corporate world of work, work and more work. So make sure that you treat yourself every now and again for all your hard work by doing whatever makes you Happy.  Have fun this year and I wish you all a very successful and enjoyable year at Aston University!

 

Succeeding in your first year for Chemical Engineers Part I

As a second year student studying Chemical Engineering, I feel that it is only right that I give all you new first year Chemical Engineering students a heads up about how to stay on top of your studies and still be able to have a good time and enjoy your uni life at Aston.

 

No.1

Attend all lectures/tutorials

It is imperative that you attend all lectures as this is a really good opportunity to ask your lecturers for further clarification of a topic within the module, so make the most of it. At Aston uni, we have this thing called Aston Replay which can be accessed on Blackboard, this tends to come in really useful during revision period. However you should not use this as an excuse not to attend lectures as some lecturers do not use Aston Replay, and even the ones that do, sometimes forget to press the record button, so as such nothing that they have said gets recorded, so if you missed that lecture you’ve got a lot of catching up to do. Not an ideal situation to be in- so make sure you don’t get caught out, attend all your lectures. Remember university is optional, you chose to come to university, so make the most of it and make sure that you get your money’s worth by attending all your lectures and tutorials. Tutorials are a lot better because they are done in smaller groups, so this is the perfect time to ask loads of question, if you feel a bit shy to do so in the lectures.

 

No.2

Lecture notes

Most lecturers at Aston will put their lecture notes up for the following lecture on blackboard for you to have a look at before attending that lecture. Therefore I would recommend doing just that, so that when you attend  the lecture you have a better understanding of what the lecturer is talking about. Make extra notes if you need to or add to the ones that they have put up already on Blackboard and make sure that you file all your notes. This leads me to my next point which is on organisation.

 

No.3

Organisation

Organisation is key! It goes hand in hand with time management. So make sure that from the word go you sort out all your notes, and keep them in order throughout the year  in folders or leaver arch files because it makes life so much easier when it comes to revision because that way everything you need will be in one place. It’s also a good idea to have some sort of time table to follow, it doesn’t need to be anything fancy or elaborate. Just something as simple and straightforward as setting aside a few days a week and a couple of hours  (1 or 2) on those days to spend going over your lecture notes and trying out some past paper questions to get a better understanding of that topic. This is because it is better to revise little and often, than to try and cramp everything in last minute. Plus when you learn something over a long period of time you tend to get a deeper and better understanding of that thing because you would have had more time to fully absorb the information and make more sense of it as a pose to learning it parrot fashion last minute, where you’ve learned something but there is no understanding of the thing that you’ve learnt and as a result this could affect your performance in an exam.

 

 

No.4

Coursework

When you receive coursework aim to complete it within the week in which it was received in as you will find that they soon start to pile up, not so much in the first term, but in the second term they come in thick and fast. So make sure you don’t leave it too late to complete coursework as these are the one thing you have control over because it is more specific in the sense that  you’ll know exactly what the coursework will be on whereas in exams anything can come up. So use your time wisely. Make sure you do your very best in all your courseworks as it could save you from a re-sit if one of your exams within the module that included that coursework doesn’t quite go according to plan.

 

Budget? What Budget?

Budgeting can be a real nightmare at times as I’ve learned from my first year of study. To be honest like most students, I’ve never really budgeted in my life, so starting university last year and having to budget for the first time was extremely difficult. But here are a few things that I tried in my first year of study in order to budget, which I hope will be of some use to many of you who are about to start uni this September.

 

Draw up a plan of your income and expenditures

This is just to get a rough idea of how much money you’ll have coming in and how much money you’ll be spending. Your sources of income may include things like student finance loan/grant, savings, part-time job and maybe even your parents. In terms of expenditures there are a lot to think about. Here are a few things to consider: Tuition fees (which you don’t have to worry about as it gets paid directly to the university), rent, food and drink, toiletries, laundry, books and stationary, clothes, shoes and transportation costs amongst many other things.

 

 

Decide how much money you are going to spend every week

This can be very hard. So what I would advise is that before the student finance money is paid into your account or building society, you do the maths. In other words work out how much money you will have left once you have paid your rent. And from there it should be a lot easier to see how much you have left for the term and essentially how much you can afford to spend on a weekly basis. Most times the amount you’ll be left with after rent has been taken out will be very small or even non-existent at times to last you for the whole term. So in order to resolve this problem you may have to sit and talk to your parents about how to work around this issue. Maybe they will be willing to assist you with some extra cash over the course of the year. Another way of getting some extra cash would be to find part-time job but it is essential that you do not work more than 15 hours a week as you do not want this to get in the way of your studies. At Aston uni we have a jobshop that you can use to find part-time work to support yourself with some extra income. You could also consider becoming a Student Ambassador like myself because it’s a great job that is totally flexible as you decide when you want to work. This is a brilliant way to represent your university and earn some extra cash at the same time.

 

 

Fresher’s week

This is the one week that students tend to spend the most money in, so make sure that you set yourself a limit of how much you can afford to spend in Fresher’s week, so that you don’t end up struggling through your first term, as most, if not all your money would have been spent on having a good time during Fresher’s week.

 

 

Shop in bulk

Shopping in bulk is a great way to save money. You should aim to either do one big food shop every week or every fortnight. Always shop around first before you finally decide where to buy something because it might be cheaper elsewhere. Before you go shopping make sure you write a shopping list, because when you walk into the supermarkets there are likely to be loads of great offers and deals on display and you may end up buying stuff that you really don’t need as a result. Therefore it is a really good idea to carry a shopping list with you and try your very best stick to it- I know it’s hard, but it has to done. When writing up your list I highly recommend buying a lot of dry food such as pasta, noodles and rice, as well as stocking up on the tin soups and the baked beans, these tend to come in very useful when your fridge/freezer starts to look a little empty-sad times:-( I would also advise that you do your shopping online because you just search for what you need, whereas when you are in the supermarket it is very easy to get distracted by something that you don’t need. I would recommend doing your online shopping at Asda because out of the four major supermarkets, their produce tends to be cheaper. And having lived on campus in my first year I can officially say that Asda seems to be the favourite online shop for Aston students- so welcome to the club! Instead of doing all your shopping in the supermarket you could use the local Bull Ring market (roughly 10 minutes away from Aston Uni) to buy fresh produce like fruits, vegetables, meat and fish just to name a few because they’re usually a lot cheaper there than in the supermarkets.

 

 

 Meal plan

Having a meal plan is something that I haven’t tried out yet, (but it is something that I definitely want to try out this year as I think that it will contribute to me being able to better manage my money). Remember those days at primary and secondary school when you used to line up and wonder what was on the lunch menu for that day? No, me neither, it seems like such a long time ago. Well the point I’m trying to make here is that you could use that idea of having a lunch menu at school and turn it into a weekly meal menu. To do this I have decided to draw up a timetable from Monday to Sunday and I’m going to outline in it what to have for breakfast, lunch and dinner on each of those days. I think that this will also help me with my shopping list because if I know what meals I’m going to have each day, then I can decide what ingredients to buy. To all you new students that want to give this method a go I would suggests that when planning your meals you should aim to keep them simple, tasty, and nutritious. The good thing about this is that instead of cooking just one portion, you could cook two or three portions of that meal and then put it in the fridge or freezer ready to eat another day during that week or even in the following week. This can come in real handy, on those days when you have lectures that finish late and you go home feeling really tired-not in the mood for cooking. All you need do then is grab your home-cooked pre-prepared meal out of the fridge or freezer and warm it up-ahh the good life. And obviously throw in some treats for yourself every now and again by having a takeaway, say once a week or once every fortnight- but don’t get too carried away with the takeaways though.

 

 

Transport

If you are living on campus in your first year you don’t have to worry about transport because that is one of the main advantages of studying at Aston University, lack of transportation costs. Everything is literally within walking distance because Aston uni is situated in the heart of Birmingham and the nearest shopping centre the Bullring is approximately 10 minutes away from the uni, likewise Birmingham New Street Station. Sometimes when going out with your friends or flatmates on nights out you may have to take the bus or a taxi which is fairly cheap and even cheaper if you travel in large groups. The only other time that you’ll have to spend money on transport is when you’re visiting home. If like me you come from another city to study at Birmingham you may want to consider buying a 16-25 Rail card which will save you a 1/3 on all rail fares to and from Birmingham. It’s a worthwhile investment if the costs of travelling home is a bit on the hefty side. Alternatively if you chose Santander as your student bank account they’ll give you a 4-year 16-25 Rail card worth £120 for free- now that’s what I call a bargain!

 

 

Moving to University

Moving to university can be a real daunting experience. As the thoughts of actually going to university starts to become more real, you will find that you’ll suddenly have lots of questions to ask, questions you just may not have really thought about before. Like what will my flatmates be like? Will I fit in with everyone else? How will I cope with living on my own?

I remember last year when I first moved into university and to be honest I didn’t really know what to expect. But I remember being so happy that I was leaving home in order to pursue a brighter future and learn to become more independent. But when I got there I felt really homesick which is perfectly normal as most students will feel that way in the first couple of weeks of having started university. A good way to overcome this homesickness is by taking lots of pictures of your family and friends, so that whenever you miss them you can just look at their pictures and know that you’re not alone. But most importantly try to keep regular contact with your family and friends through phone calls, text messages or social media.

 

In terms of flatmates there is no real guarantee as to what they will be like, because it is really mixed bag, but most of the students that come to Aston university are really friendly individuals, so don’t worry too much about who you’ll be living with for the next one year as chances are they will tend to be decent people. Fresher’s week is a really good time to get to know your flatmates and really bond with them as this is the one week where you don’t have lectures or exam revision, so make the most of it and get to know your flatmates. A really good tip is to swap numbers with all your flatmates, as you never know when you might lose or misplace your key card and as such can’t get into your flat, so at least that way you’ll have someone to call onto for help.

 

Don’t worry too much about fitting in, because as I already mentioned before the students at Aston are incredibly friendly, plus there are loads of different clubs and societies to join and make new friends, so fitting in shouldn’t be a problem at all. At the end of Fresher’s week there is normally a Fresher’s fair, which is the time to join a few clubs and societies. I use the word a few because it is essential that you do not get carried away and join loads of societies because quite frankly you won’t have the time to attend all of them because once lectures start you’ll have course works and class tests and exams which will all contribute to your overall mark at the end of the year. Unlike secondary school and Sixth Form/College there are no such things as mock exams at University, so it is really important that you work hard for all your exams and coursework regardless of what percentage of the module it contributes to because every little percentage counts.

 

Coping on your own can be a bit hard at first. Especially as you won’t have Mummy and Daddy to wake you up in the morning, make you breakfast, lunch and dinner and do your laundry amongst many other things. University is the time when you really learn to appreciate your parents, because it is only when you start living on your own do you realise just how much your parents do for you.

But not to worry by the end of the year you would have learnt a lot about yourself and you’ll be better able to cope with living on your own and becoming Mr/Miss INDEPENDENT. Good luck for the new academic year and I’m sure that you’re going to absolutely love university life- Freedom at last 🙂

 

About me

Hello everyone, my name is Esther and I am a second year student studying Chemical Engineering, which may I just add is a great course for all the Maths and Chemistry lovers out there. I aim to keep you regularly updated about uni life and life as a student in general.