Movember November

November. The start of those dull foggy mornings that are another perfect excuse to roll over and return into that deep sleep, rather than zombie stride yourself to the soul destroying lecture at 9am. The leaves are floating to the ground and your noses start tickling with the threat of a cold, but however dull and drab your mood has become with the overwhelming overload of work deadlines, those adverts are finally reminding you that holidays are coming! Soon you will be enjoying christmas time with your loved ones, and forgetting all your troubles while you sing along with the cringeworthy carols. Okay, some of us do that, or, I know I do.

But for some, November can also represent something entirely different, and this masterpiece is…..MOVEMBER! 

You must have noticed, or wondered why there are so many young men sporting the mustache look this month, and the reason behind it is as warm as the man sporting the moustache’s top lip would be. The aim is to raise awareness and cash to fund help and services for men’s health, particularly that of prostate cancer and other cancers specific to men. Yes ladies, at first it might seam a little sexist but if you think about methods such as the cervical cancer jab, and breast cancer you will realise that men’s health is slightly disregarded, for example, did you know that men could suffer from breast cancer too?

I know it is nearing to the end of November, or shall I say November, but there is still time to get involved and do your bit.  Though most people who get involved with Movember sign up on the 1st of November, and have the rest of the month to raise money with their generous sponsors and grow their beautiful masterpieces, you can still participate. For ladies, why don’t you sacrifice your boyfriends/friends lovely smooth baby face for a good cause, and for the guys, well, what better excuse not to shave! Or, if you do not fancy growing some whiskers, why not donate a few pennies you have spare? You know you will only spend it on junk food or booze anyway.

If you participate in this charity marathon month you gain a new and wonderful status within society, for men, you will be regarded as a Mo bro, and ladies you will be Mo sista’s, brilliant isnt it? To get yourself in on the action follow this link, and do your good deed in time for a well deserved Christmas break.

After you have signed up for Movember, you have the chance to win many fantastic competitions, for example; awards are given for the best Mo Space pages which show off your lovely Moustache to the world, there are free delicious Byron burgers available for those who raise over £25, chance to win a £50 draw for those who raise over £50, and the chance to win £100 for those who raise over £100, as well as many more exciting opportunities! The winners of whom will all be announced on the 9th of December, so it gives you chance to do your Christmas shopping with the winning money! Most importantly, is the chance to be part of the international Moscars, a video which showcases the best Mo bro’s out there!

But most of all, you can start December with a humble pride, knowing you have been able to be lazy and not shave for a month, or few days, dependent on when you join, and with a good excuse; that you are raising money, and awareness for your fellow mankind.

Written by Charlotte Owen, Leeds Metropolitan University.

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Dinner with your parents in Bristol

You know all the best takeaways’ numbers by heart and the perfect place for a kebab on the way home, but somewhere appropriate to eat when your parents come to visit? Hmm. Whether it’s for that first trip down to see your halls or a graduation dinner, there is a restaurant in Bristol to suit every family.

The all-English family
If your parents are homely, traditional English types who love nothing more than good old-fashioned pub grub, they might well like Goldbrick House. The menu features old-time favourites such as  fish and chip, rabbit stew, steak and lamb wellington – just a little bit posher. Those on a tighter budget might prefer the rough-and-ready but incredibly tasty Pieminister on Stokes Croft, where you can get a pie, mash, peas and gravy for £5.95.

The ‘special dietary requirements’ family

If you have vegetarian or vegan family members to cater for, Café Kino at the top of Stokes Croft is a good place to start. Everything on the menu is free from meat, dairy, eggs and honey, and if you’re allergic to something the catering staff are happy to adjust your meal. Otherwise Café Maitreya is another, more adventurous vegetarian café with good reviews.

The fashionable family
Those who like to ‘be seen’ ought to head up to Clifton to find the more fashionable eateries. The Avon Gorge Hotel looks out over the Suspension Bridge and the Avon Gorge, frequented by many Clifton socialites for after-work drinks or a high-class evening meal.

The hippy family
Parents with a penchant for lentils, tofu and vegetables will find plenty to eat in Bristol. Number one has to be the One-Stop Thali Café, which has various restaurants around the city. If they’ve been to India (highly likely) they’ll probably have sampled a thali before – a combination of vegetable subji, basmati rice, tarka dahl, keralan salad and homemade chutney, served in a special dish. You can also get chapattis, beer, chai and a whole host of other bits and bobs to go with it. Oh, and non-veggies need not worry – there’s now a chicken curry option as well. Alternatively you could wander down the road to the Canteen for some tasty food and laid-back Bristolian atmosphere… Just make sure you get there early if you want a table.

The millionaire family
Ok, ‘millionaire’ might be a bit of an exaggeration, but there are places in Bristol for the wealthy to dine. San Carlo on Corn Street does absolutely delicious Italian food that is well worth the price tag. I recommend the tomato pasta with clams, king prawns and sunblush tomatoes. MMM! Riverstation is also up there with the most expensive dining Bristol has to offer, or for some nouvelle cuisine try Bell’s Diner down in Montpelier.

The hungry family
Whether you have several teenage siblings who need a lot of calories or are just downright greedy, all-you-can-eat places are dotted around the city. Flavourz lets you sample food from all over the world, and you can go back for as many helpings as you like. Cosmo operates on the same principal, but is limited to Pan-Asian dishes.  

Written by Lucy, Bristol.

Exeter Safer Sex Ball

The time of year has come again, the leaves are falling from the trees, permanent drizzle surrounds us and SSB fever has once again hit Exeter. So, the Safer Sex Ball is probably Exeter University’s biggest legend. In case you don’t know what it is or what all the fuss is about here are the basics:

–          8th December 2011

–          4,000 students ALL dressed in as little as possible (and I mean AS LITTLE AS POSSIBLE)

–          One HUGE venue- Westpoint Arena

–          Performances from some big names (still to be announced) and the University’s Dance and Pole Dancing societies.

In my first year by the end of Freshers’ week we all knew what the SSB was and were determined to go. The queuing began OUTSIDE in freezing cold November at 2am, and we only just got tickets, people arriving at 2.30am missed out (after queuing for 7 hours)! That is how popular the Safer Sex Ball is, luckily they changed the system and as of last year you now purchase tickets online through the university website. The ball might be a little pricy (£40 a ticket this year with £1.50 booking fee) but from my experiences of the last two years it is definitely worth the money. In Exeter there aren’t many opportunities to go to balls, and especially not in your underwear so even if you go just for this reason, it will be worth it.

The SSB has been voted in FHM’s Top 100 things to do before you die.  I can assure you there is no other student event like it. Although it is a brilliant time to meet members of the opposite sex (if you know what I mean), there is also a really great cause behind it. Not only does the SSB raise awareness of HIV but proceeds go to the Eddystone Trust, a Devon-based HIV charity. You will be involved in an event which helps to raise £40,000 for charity, an incredible amount! Proceeds from the Safer Sex Ball will also go to Headway Devon, Refuge, Clic Sargent and World Child Cancer.

So the finer details… Tickets go on sale Thursday 10th November at 9am. Although if you miss out ask around as quite often people have tickets to sell nearer the time if they can’t go. The theme this year is Fantasia, the world of magic, myth and fairytale. Think Midsummer Night’s Dream, Little Red Riding Hood, or even the Three Little Pigs if you’re so inclined!

More up to date details about the event and the link to the ticket selling site can be found on the Facebook group here:  http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=256042091108671

Tips for your Dissertation

Being a University student with a thriving social life is all well and good, but there is no denying that at some point you are going to have to wrestle that angry cloud of deadlines hovering over your shoulders. As a third year, I completely understand how stressful it is trying to balance your University work with a social life, visiting home, and that new job. Don’t worry, you are not on your own, we all shrug off the pressures of University work with the promise of returning to it later on in the week, however, when it reaches the point in which it is screaming for your attention at the back of your conscience, it cannot be ignored any further. 

This feeling in the past three years I have come to know, and after already writing about such stress regarding University work, I believe it is better to share any tips on handling the dreaded deadlines than let another fellow student miss out on something that could possibly encourage, or enable a worrying student to manage such commitments better. For me, most of my attention at the minute is wasted away on my dissertation, sometimes I wish I had prepared a lot earlier than I had, and I prepared fairly early, so I thought I might give some first and second years some tips from a third year experience, you never know, it might actually give you some ideas.

 

My life right about now

 

1) Choose a topic you feel you can not talk enough about

The choice of topics in which you are able to analyse within your dissertation will be dependent on which subject you are studying at University, however, there are usually a lot of ways in which you can relate a subject you are really passionate about to your Dissertation topic, however, the subject you are studying will most probably provide you with a topic you feel increasingly intrigued by, otherwise you most likely would not be studying it. As an English Literature student I have chosen a topic surrounding African American narratives, although many of my friends have chosen many varied subjects for their own Dissertations, for example, a male course mate has decided to talk about the evolution of zombies in Gothic Fiction, whereas another friend has spoken about representations of Music in selected novels, a topic I often pinch myself for not choosing myself. Most dissertations are expected to harbour 10,000 words or even more, and therefore it is a must  that you choose a topic you are genuinely interested in, because you are going to be living, eating, breathing, and sleeping this topic for the majority of your third year.

 

Would you like to write 10,000 words on these guys?

 

 

2) Plan EVERYTHING as soon as possible

This may seam drastic and something only a true geek would do, but believe me, you have no idea when your Dissertation tutor may want to see the sources you have collected, or want to see exactly what you aim to say in each chapter, and most of the time they do not take verbal instructions as work. Within three weeks of starting my third year, my Dissertation tutor had already met up with me, asked me to send 25 sources in which I will be using in my dissertation (In bibliography form) and a plan of my whole Dissertation. Obviously each University, subject, and tutor will be different, for example my housemates Dissertation tutor is willing to read as many drafts or bits of paragraphs as wanted, however mine will only take one draft, but they all work on the same principles, to encourage you to plan as much as you can so you have something to reference when you forget where you are, or differentiate what you want to say with what you have already said, believe me, after a couple of thousand words your eyes start to fur up and your head starts leaning to one side, causing you to worry about your sanity, therefore it is very easy to get lost in the tornado of papers, sources and arguments.

 

3) Have an argument already in your head before you start reading

Dissertations can be incredibly frustrating little things, I only began planning mine two months ago yet I have already experienced every feeling under the sun whilst working on it. Most of this stress has stemmed from my lack of decision making with regards to what argument I want to base my Dissertation on, for example, a friend of mine has based her argument on ‘How Romance novels brainwash women today’, it is a working argument for her but that is the basis of her aim, and it just shows that your argument can simply be anything. The pen is really put in your hand with a Dissertation, there is no right or wrong topic, it is for you to decide, and for the tutors to help and improve the work you produce.  I would advise any students who are yet to enter their third year to start having an idea for their Dissertation, and the argument you may possibly want to portray, as early as possible, it will cause far less worrying and flapping around than if you leave it last minute.

 

3) READ READ READ

Make sure you read as much as you can, you never know what you will find in the next book you pick up, it may bring you back to life after sleepily scanning through a ton of boring dusty books. It may seam soul destroying, however it could be the best thing to add to you dissertation, so make sure you cover a substantial amount of reading, and note down every valid point you find, no matter how big or small it is in your argument. Also, in most Dissertations the sources you use can e very exciting; I have used many poems in which I enjoyed and found relevant to my topic, also, songs, and magazine articles can be relevant, although it is advised to double check with your tutor before adding these to your Dissertations.

 

 

4) Manage your time carefully, DO NOT LEAVE UNTIL LAST MINUTE!!

This assignment is not like any other, you can not just do an ‘all-nighter’  with this one, it takes months and months of planning, reading, writing, and many coffees and late nights to produce. It is understandable that many students like to enjoy their social lives which is fair enough and I admit to that myself, however your Dissertation is very important, and is like a child that needs to be nurtured and a lot of attention needs to be spent  upon this little baby.

 

I hope this helped just a little bit, and if you are not yet in the third year, that this article gave you an idea on what to expect with regards to your Dissertation, there are a lot of courses that do not expect a Dissertation, or give you a choice to substitute a Dissertation with, for example, Placement work, however the Dissertation is infamous in the student community as a soul destroying, but important contribution to your course, do not let this be a negative experience, start it early and regard it as a new friend waste you time with. It does not mean the end of your social life, my friends and I have Dissertation dates where we all sit and work on our Dissertations, with tasty treats and a nice movie afterwards, therefore my last tip is too keep things fun! And do not forget to make time for yourself to relax.

Good luck!

Written by Charlotte Owen, Leeds Metropolitan University.