It is incredibly easy for a student at University to forget their motivation for being there in the first place. What with all the addictive student club nights, harrowing hangovers, and the confusing rush of new opportunities taunting your interest and inviting your attention elsewhere, in to all kinds of directions. The student life is a hard habit to shake off, and it is hard to see an end to the constant parties, and late nights with the dissilusion that you will be able to flunk life when it finally calls with a little pro plus and an enthusiastic gulp of energy drink.
This is where I was a few weeks previously, missing the bigger picture, and forgetting just how much I want to succeed in music journalism, and preferring to indulge my passion in the many delights of Urban Outfitters. Then I looked at my phone as it flashed in the shadow of my distraction, and the light bulb immediately switched back on. As I opened the email on my Blackberry, I bubbled inside with excitement. I was invited to an open lecture with the guest speaker being that of a widely popular writer who provides articles for The Guardian and has contributed to Q magazine, having written her first novel, and in the process of writing her second. I practically jumped off my chair after reading how the lecture would consist of this talented journalist explaining her passion towards music, and the path in which she walked down to get to the position she was in now, and immediately set an alarm for it.
On the day of the lecture I arose bright and early with apprehensive nerves, and carefully considered what I could wear that would impress the speaker enough to realise that I was a great choice of protege, to follow in her footsteps (mindless daydreaming, but worth a try anyway). I spent all my break reading this woman’s work, and revelling in our combined passion for music, and when I witnessed the incessant passion for music magnificently rolling off her tongue I was reminded that I am on the right path to my dream job, I was half tempted to jump up and hug this new hero of mine, after the lecture, in gratitude for the fresh inspiration to remain in the same path.
This lecture is not just a one off either, another relevant email has found its way to my phone ensuring me that I was aware of a lecture with the guest speaker being a widely known DJ who will be discussing the relevance of music in today’s culture, yet another burst of academic excitement followed, and the eagerness to meet someone who employs a wide section of my Itunes is almost too much to bare. And it is not just us aspiring music journalists blessed with all these inspiring pep talks, students are always kept up to date with the latest guest speaker to bless willing students with their lectures covering a wide variety of occupations, genres, and subjects, so make sure you read all those boring University emails, you might see something that sparks the electric current to your own dreams and goals.
The motive for this article is to remind you that although the student lifestyle may exhume an incredible fog into your vision of the future, University itself is always at hand to feed in to your passion, and to inspire you into the depths of your dreams full capacity. You CAN make your dreams come true. Never forget that.
Written by Charlotte Owen, Leeds Metropolitan University.
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.
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.
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.
Written by Charlotte Owen, Leeds Metropolitan University.
Fishing my way through the stampede of freshly new students, I was in a realm of inspiration, surrounded by excitable representatives, enthusiastically thriving upon the opportunity of conveying their passions successfully onto a willing student. The freshers fair is booming, and under the influence of the high energetic levels of the reps, theatrically jumping and sliding their way around the fresh faced public, I make my way towards the colourful stalls. Surrounded by the welcoming smiles offering an intake on a particularly fun year, suddenly it hits me; In the nearly three years in which I have spent attending Leeds Metropolitan University, I have not previously taken part in a society. Overwhelmed with an intense rush of disappointment and frustration in myself, I scan the table tops, and many faces in search of something that takes my fancy. Immediately something catches my eye, and as I approach the stall a friendly, and warm voice has me enticed to sign up, after five minutes conversation with the rep, I have already made a new friend, convincing me that I had made the right choice, and excited to find out more about a society I may further decide to join.
Seeing all the stalls, and so many nice people, ready and willing to bring out the best in each and every student, and make their year a little more perfect, I thought I would provide a short list, of a very wide and varied selection of societies and commities.
Ambustar (First Aid Skills)
Also in its third year at Leeds Met, this society is open to people from all medical levels, and is a fantastic way to gain the most basic, varying to a more deeper knowledge of First Aid to then apply to real life situations, such as football games, concerts, and much more. A brilliant fixture to add to your CV, Ambustar meets every Wednesday to learn fantastic First Aid skills, and even has the support of an external organisation, meaning this society receives five million pounds worth of insurance, lots of equipment, and even ambulances. If you are studying a medical career, or even just want to dip your toes into First Aid, this course can appeal to everyone. If this society appeals to you, email email@example.com to gain more information.
Audio Active (DJing)
For you DJ’s, this is the one for you, be gone those days where your housemate/flatmate is incessantly banging on the walls begging you to turn it down. You can now mix with like-minded DJ enthusiasts who, just like you, enjoy mixing it up, and experimenting with the latest sounds, lighting, and props. Audio Active is passionate about DJ’s, and hopes to get enough DJ’s to create their own night. Not only will you playing host to your own house parties, but your audience will be extended to many friendly, people, who want nothing more but to enjoy your DJ sets. With open mic/open deck nights, and a monthly club promoting ALL DJ’s involved, dont be shy, and share your wonderful music with people who appreciate it. If this sounds like your cup of tea, email firstname.lastname@example.org to be part of something exciting in the DJ world.
Climbing and Mountaineering club
For those students who like the outside, to challenge themselves, and reep rewards such as fulfilling that climb to one of the highest peaks, this club is for you. Climbing and Mountaineering club accepts people of all climbing levels, and provides a fun, friendly atmosphere to gain both social, and competitive climbing experiences. If you like more of a competitive climb, you have the option of training five times a week, and are offered to train with Bouldering, Sport climbing, and Trad. With many fantastic opportunities to travel, and gain climbing skills at many different sites; trips to the lakes, and foreign peaks in places such as Spain, and France, to ensure you gain a wider knowledge of different terrains, and also enjoy a fulfilling trip with friends who enjoy the same passions as yourself. If this sounds appealing, contact email@example.com.
This club satisfies the more flexible of students, with activities such as trampolining, Bars, Vault, Beam, Rings, Pommel, Asymetric bars to name but a few, this society has both Male and Female coaches, to teach you the most elegant, and fascinating moves in gymnastics, in a safe environment. Do not fear, even if you cannot fully complete a cartwheel, or forward roll, the Gymnastics club caters to every level of gymnast, and is a great chance for students to become more confident, thrive within the sport. If you are simply just inspired by the guilty pleasures of such television programmes set out to encourage more gymnasts, or it has simply been an interest of yours for a while, do not miss out on a chance to learn some hypnotising moves. If this inspires you, do not hesitate to contact; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kayaking and Canoe
If extreme water sports is more your thing, Kayaking and Canoe club fits your needs. From activities in waters ranging from the highly exciting white water, to the calm, majestic lake waters and canals, this club offers many exciting possibilities, even the choice to take part in BUCS competitions, the BBQ, and Fancy dress on offer. Day trips away from Leeds ensure you are provided with a wide range of waters to train with, and also an opportunity to travel with people who share the same thrills. Coaching sessions are held in the campus pool, with people from all levels able to take part, why not pump some adrenaline in those veins of yours, and get some of the biggest thrills of your life. With all equipment provided for you, it is hard to say no! All you have to do is email; email@example.com.
Five years since Leeds Met Skiers and Snowboarders combined to make Snow sports, the club has already gained a strong image, and following, with more and more people joining every year. Filled with a team passionate about Snow Sports, you can imagine why this club is increasingly sociable, with trips to Castleford Xscape providing members with fixtures of their addiction. For all you students wanting a club that is fun, friendly, and loves getting wrapped up and active in the cold, you should definately give the Snow Sports club a go, you will not regret it! Competing for many accolades, this club placed third in this years Womens big air Snowboarding, and missed out on the ski slalom finals by just miliseconds. This club welcomes people of all abilities, so you have no excuse not to get involved. For your chance to travel to Edinburgh for one of the most exciting competitions, and an annual trip to the beautiful French Alps, and meet some fun, and exciting people, just email; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Leeds Met Comedy Society
For all you comedians, why don’t you share your talents with people who appreciate a good laugh? Instead of just being the class joker, or the comedian of your friends, put your fantastic skills to work, you may be on to something! Leeds Met Comedy Society is for people who love to laugh, or make people laugh, so if you feel this society sounds like you, give email@example.com an email, who knows who you will be making laugh next!
Students with the amazingly creative eye for photography will find this society to be of particular interest. No matter whether you prefer film, landscape, portrait, or live music, the Photography Society appreciates and values the intriguing art of photography, and encourages students with budding skills to unleash their inner artist, and open themselves up to a world of opportunity in developing their art. With many socials, outings, and workshops, this society will definitely inspire you. Email; firstname.lastname@example.org for the chance to dig beneath nature, and its sights, and capture something rather beautiful.
Do no be alarmed if nothing on this list sparks your enthusiasm, there are many, many more societies and clubs at Leeds Metropolitan University to choose from, this is but the tip of the Ice Berg. Why not take a look over the long list of exciting activities you could be a part of, I can guarantee there will be more than one choice that matches for you. Do not be shy, this is the time you can do something exciting, something life changing, and be a part of something you have always dreamt; this can be more than just a dream, you just have to send an email, and you are half way there! Look at the List now, and behold!
Written by Charlotte Owen, Leeds Metropolitan University.
Moving to university is a scary time and a brief Google search will throw up a huge amount of conflicting advice on what you ought to take with you. With this in mind, rather than an exhaustive list of absolutely everything you will need (and definitely won’t), this article aims to point out a few things that you might not have thought of when packing your bag.
The top 5 things I wish I had brought to uni:
1. Posters, photos and knick-knacks.
Anything that will personalise your room and make it feel more homely is a must! The more settled you feel in your own space, the more quickly you’ll settle into your new life. There’s no need to panic if your room is looking a little bare, though: most universities run a poster sale in freshers’ week.
2. Fancy dress.
Like it or not, you can bet that within your first ten days at uni you’ll need at least two different costumes! There’s no need to go overboard, but anything you have lying around which could make a good army, school disco, or cowboys and Indians costume is definitely worth throwing in your bag.
3. One of: a bottle opener, a tin opener, and a cheese grater.
These three are often overlooked in the pre-uni Ikea frenzy, and it’s not uncommon to arrive in halls and find that your kitchen has 25 plates, 10 saucepans, 2 toastie makers and no corkscrew.
4. Playing cards.
Essential for drinking games. If you can get waterproof ones, even better!
5. Tea towels.
With a good 6-10 people sharing a kitchen, you can never have too many tea towels – especially since no-one will ever volunteer to wash them.
And now, the things you really don’t need:
1. Everything you own.
Rooms in halls are generally very small, and there won’t be space for you to store all your childhood teddies/40 pairs of shoes/GCSE coursework. Remember that a term is only 10-12 weeks long – how much stuff do you really need?
2. Extra furniture.
Your room will have furniture in that is designed to make the best possible use of the limited space. Anything extra will only get in the way!
3. Your own kettle/toaster/fridge.
All of these are provided as standard by the university if you’re in self-catered halls (and sometimes even if you aren’t) – not only will they take up precious space in your room but they’ll waste energy too. Also, do you really want to be the flatmate who hides all their food in their room?
4. In the same vein, you really don’t need an egg poacher/deep fat fryer/blender/apple corer.
Chances are you only occasionally use these things at home, and they’ll just sit in a drawer gathering dust.
5. Your hamster/rabbit/fish.
Not only because pets are against the rules, but also because halls just aren’t a good place for animals to live – they’re cramped, noisy and dirty.
Whilst it’s important to be prepared in order to get the best out of your first weeks at uni, there’s no need to get overly stressed about it. Forgetting to bring a frying pan or your favourite poster is not going to have much of an effect on how well you settle in. So think carefully about what you want to pack, but most importantly relax and enjoy yourself – you’re about to embark on the best years of your life!
When I first heard the word ‘Huddersfield’ I didn’t know what to expect. I was just finishing college and I had been advised to go to an open day there by my personal tutor; Jim- ‘its one of the best around, you wont regret it I promise.)
When I arrived on the University campus I thought Jim must have had shares in the place, as it was nowhere near as glamorous as neighbouring Universities such as Leeds or Manchester (my first two choices.) Begrudgingly I put down Huddersfield as my third choice, even if it just meant humouring Jim.
To everyone’s surprise; least of all my own, I didn’t make it into my first two choices on the course I had applied for (English Language.) Alas, to Jim’s delight, I had been accepted into Huddersfield (the dividend cheque is in the post Jim.) So I put my name down on the accommodation at Storthes Hall and trudged off to welcome weekend, deciding to put my scepticism on hold, and boy am I glad that I did!
Prior to University I had found myself, like all other collegians, attending the odd obligatory house party and wondering what the big fuss surrounding further education was all about. Then it hit me, as soon as my parents car disappeared around the corner, as I looked around at the other eager faces of my peers, we were all in this together. There was only one thing left to do, get pissed!
I made more friends that weekend then I had in my entire life before then. Huddersfield is situated inbetween Manchester and Leeds, therefore the North is our oyster! If we’re not downing the cocktails in the many swanky bars of Deansgate Locks in Manchester, we are traipsing down Call Lane in Leeds. The fact that the nightlife in Huddersfield is not as lively as Leeds or Manchester just makes it a safe haven to return to after a hefty weekend. A place where you can find peace and tranquility in which to spend some hard earned studious time!
I think many people might be put off from going to a place like Huddersfield, as I was when the idea was first proposed, yet you must understand that there are many places you can go for a night out on a budget, and they are all just a short train ride away.
I will go into more depth in my future blogs about the nightlife in Huddersfield (or lack thereof,) but for now, on a particularly dry Friday night, Headingley calls. Chin Chin.
Oh and by the way, Jim was right, I don’t regret going to Huddersfield for a minute!
Global economic recession, high rates of unemployment and increased tuition fees paint a miserable picture for school leavers looking to go to college or University. What’s the point? Traditionally if you wanted a good job then University was the way to go, spending at least 3 years learning the knowledge and then you were pretty much guaranteed of walking into a good job at the end of it- wham bam thank you ma’am and you’d have a good ride along the way.
I wanted to go to Uni, I wasn’t forced into it by my parents- I had a choice and I took it. I was warned by school teachers that the work will be a lot, lot harder than school and to think long and hard about it. One of my teachers said she’d only just paid off her student loan, she was quite old so that was slightly concerning but I already knew that they only took a small percentage out per month so I felt the positives outweighed the negatives. Would I make the same decision with tuition fees at 9k? I’m not sure.
To be honest I thought my University course was easier than my GCSE’s, I had to get a meagre 40% in my first year at Uni to pass through to the next hurdle. The institution settled me in gently, allowing me to spend more of my time on 3-legged bar crawls, drinking cider out my shoe and shouting our University chant like I was going into battle. Little did I know that 2 years later that I would enter a battle, a battle to get a job!
3 years of amazing and happy times later, the day of graduation arrived almost like an intervention, telling me enough was enough and now I must leave the incubator and join the workforce. After all I was brimming with knowledge, high on ambition and trained like a ninja to cover all eventualities my future job may throw at me. Bring it on.
Graduation day was a pleasant affair whilst slightly strange having my smartly dressed parents, beaming with pride walking through my stomping ground. As I walked up to the graduation venue and past the local kebab merchant, memories of the rugby social we had a few nights before came back to haunt me, 6 of us dressed in girls clothes walking/stumbling home arm in arm talking about the finer points of a good doner kebab. To distract my wondering mind from discovering any more embarrassing memories I pointed out a nearby art gallery to my parents and said “It’s really good.” I’d been there once in 3 years.
We entered the vast concert hall where the graduation ceremony was being held, we were the 3rd batch of the day filling up hundreds of seats, my seat was still warm from the previous occupier- he/she was probably worried, like I was, about the many things that could go wrong. Will i trip over, will my pants fall down, what colour pants do I even have on?! etc etc.
The ceremony was presented by the most senior University faculty who I’d never seen before but I presumed they were probably descendants of a holy nature and had full right to be presenting me with my freshly printed degree or as I jokingly refer to it, my receipt. Admittedly I spent most of the ceremony studying peoples faces as they had to cross the vast space across the stage to shake the unknown-but-important-man’s hand. Just to let you know my findings, i found that the vast majority of people locked eyes on the man as they crossed the stage, often without blinking, scared to the bone of the vast crowd to the left of them. Many people opted for an early raise of the arm, walking up to 20 feet with their hand already extended which I enjoyed greatly. A handful of people determined to make this a memorable occasion even turned to the crowd and waved, a couple of girls did a little dance and one girl roared and fist pumped the air which personally I thought was a bit too much. If she was my daughter I’d have her put down. Personally i want for an early extend of the arm and then rather regrettably patted the man on the back whilst shaking his hand, very RnB and totally inappropriate.
(Goodbye Amigos, we will meet again soon)
Graduation day came and went, I had one final furore with my fellow primates and a few days later packed up my belongings and left the place that had become my home and provider of happy times. I moved home, living like a child again in my parents’ house and embarked on the job hunt, still full of beans and optimism. However the weeks past into months and I, like thousands of other students across the UK, couldn’t find any jobs.
It’s a genuinely desperate and demoralising feeling when you search the vast number of job websites and all that you see are hundreds of recruitment vacancies. How can recruitment be so popular when there aren’t any jobs? This still confuses me. In desperation I actually went for a number of recruitment interviews and I was briefed by my recruiter prior to each interview that if they ask me why I want that job I should say “I want a big house, nice car and loads of cash.” A refreshing but slightly more cringe change to “Because I really enjoy working in a team and getting job satisfaction.” For the next few weeks I visited many offices, adopting the role of a complete tool pretending I wanted to do recruitment. I didn’t get any of the jobs, my CV was too creative and one person said I was even ‘too nice.’ I’m sorry but when was that a problem in the work place? Just to add I’m sure not all recruitment people are idiots, just the ones I met.
Take a snapshot of graduates today and you’ll see thousands of students struggling to find employment or working in jobs they could have got without getting a degree or the debt! This pool of ‘tomorrows talent’ gets murkier each day as thousands more graduate with high ambitions but no opportunities. What I’ve heard a lot from employers and job vacancies is that students need to have experience in that industry to get the job however at the same time, many times students can’t get experience until they have a degree. Come on lets be honest, monkeys could do most of the jobs out there- just give us a chance!
The average student now leaves University with around £20-25k of debt and around £30k for those unfortunates in the capital. That debt is going to rise even higher with 64 Universities announcing that they will charge the full £9,000 a year tuition fees in 2012. Is University a worthwhile investment at this cost? This is an ongoing debate and not one I’m going to attempt to answer, the full impact of the governments decision on tuition fees and the state of the economy will be revealed in time.
All I would say to people out there considering University as an option is to definitely think long and hard about it and what you want out of life. Does your ideal job require a degree? Are their any jobs out there once you graduate? Can you get into that job another way? Could you put that money, your future debt, to a better use? etc etc.
With the vast numbers of people going to University these days and the rise of unemployment, its getting harder and harder for people to get jobs. My advice is that once you’re at Uni you need to gain as much experience and skills as possible so that you’ll stand out amongst the thousands of other hopefuls when you graduate. There’s so many opportunities to make yourself stand out at University, from getting involved in sports and societies to gaining work experience in local businesses, take every opportunity- it goes so fast. Just think about the day when you’re all done, you’re sat in the sobriety of your family home and you need to get a decent job. What makes your CV different from the others.
Fortunately my extra curricular activities at Uni were the ones that got me my dream job, the degree just got me the interview. Don’t give up, keep trying and good luck to all the new students out there who’ve decided to take the plunge! Whatever happens you’ll have a great few years, trust me! 😉