Saturday, 13 February 2016

Work Experience Placement!


On many courses at university (or even before you get to university!) you may need work experience. For my course, it's 'compulsory' which means it's worth 20% of one assessment which is worth 50% of one of six units in this year of my course.

To put it simply (and in a way my lecturers would hate!) it’s only worth about 1.7% of my grade this year, which doesn’t go towards the final grade of my course and isn’t as compulsory as they would imply, as you can pass the course without it.

So with that in mind I wasn’t fussing too much about getting work experience – after an early finish one day at uni, I went and sat in the Student Union bar and did what I like to call ‘admin work’ in which I plan out my assignments and my time and figure out what else I have to do. In this time, I found than Channel 4 have a work experience program and I applied for it on the off chance, definitely not expecting it because I’ve applied for placements like that before and never got them.

Bearing in mind – I applied on a whim and I haven’t applied anywhere else.

I got it!

Last Tuesday I got an email saying I’d been successful – they’re paying for my travel, I get to stay in a 4 Star Hotel all expenses paid and I get to work in the online department at Channel 4 for a whole week! I can’t believe it, I’m so happy and proud of myself – apparently I have a decent application!

Work experience is always useful – I’m always keeping an eye out for work experience placements because not only is it a chance to learn more about a field you’re interested in and meet new people but it’s an opportunity to get your foot in the door and make contacts for the future! Which in a field like mine, journalism, but so many creative fields, it’s so important to have contacts because getting a good job is about who you know.

I’ll let you know about anything exciting that happens!

If there’s anything you’d like me to write about or any questions you have, I’d love to help and write a post for you. You can contact me on twitter @SophieALuckett or my Facebook page Sophie Counts Clouds (which is my YouTube channel name, if you'd also like to follow me there!). I'd love to hear from you!

If you liked this post or any of my other ones, you could vote for me as Blogger of the Month here!

Thank you for reading xx

Friday, 22 January 2016

Friends From Home, Friends From Uni

A lot of people will tell you that going to uni is the best years of your life - that you have the best times and make the best friends and it's the best few years to have before you really hit the working world.

Having just started the second half of my first year and seeing it beginning to conclude and map itself out, I start thinking back to secondary school.

Whilst a lot of people (particularly at my university) went to college and did a variety of courses that weren't at all available to me, I stayed on at my school's sixth form and did A Levels in English Language, English Literature and Maths (I sucked at maths - my maths teacher still tells his current classes how bad I was at maths, very unprofessional). So I was in the same school, the same environment, doing three of the same subjects, surrounded by the same people for about seven years.

In those seven years (and, in some cases, more before that!) I made some amazing friends, some of which I'm lucky to still be in contact with now but many of which I talked to last before I even moved to uni. Sometimes, friendships fizzle away and whilst that isn't always a bad thing (in fact, I quite enjoyed clearing out my Facebook friends list when I left school!), sometimes you lose people that were really special to you and had a very important place in your heart.

Sometimes I wonder whether those people think the same about me - that they used to have this friend that they thought would be in their lives forever but they changed and now they don't talk anymore and it's sad but probably for the best.

And it probably is for the best - people come and go from our lives and the people that stay are the ones that deserve to stay or the ones that fight to stay, but sometimes you wonder why some didn't fight to stay.

The advice I would give for trying to cope with this (as I feel I should try to end this post on an uplifting note!) is to try and dissociate yourself with the people you're not in contact with anymore - unfollow them on Facebook and Snapchat and whatever other social media. If you're trying to move on to a life that they're not in, then seeing them appear on your timeline is going to make it difficult to forget.

Don't get me wrong - university is amazing and I've met so many incredible people that I have are going to be in my life for a long time. I just had a reflective, nostalgic moment.

Good luck to everyone still applying and going to university in this coming September - you're about to start the biggest adventure of your life so far!

Saturday, 16 January 2016

5 tips to meet a deadline!

Hello! It's been a little while since I blogged but from mid-December through to mid-January I was neck deep in assignment work so whilst I really wanted to keep this blog updated, I had to prioritise uni! 

But over the New Year and in these first weeks of January I've really realised how much I love blogging so I'm back!

That's not why we're here though - I want to give you some tips on how best to finish your assignment when you're lacking in motivation, time management and the ability to care about what you have to do! This isn't exclusive to university assignments - if you've got coursework deadlines looming or a big essay due, this might help!

1) Make a list of everything you need to do!
The assignments I've had required a lot of planning - I had to find a feature and interview someone for that, I had to get people's opinions on a topic for audio and I had so many different things for photography that I got my coloured pens and my highlighters out and I wrote out each assignment title, when the deadline was and what I had to do. I find seeing everything written out on the page and being able to tick it off or cross it out is the most satisfying thing!

2) Give yourself rewards!
Whether it's food, going out to meet your friends or letting yourself have a break to watch YouTube or Netflix (provided you don't get sucked in and stop working completely!), incentives can be a good way to get work done. Either set a timer or alarm for however long you work best (some people can do an hour, whilst others prefer 15-20 minute bursts!) and after that amount of time, put down your pen and give yourself a reward. If it helps, set another alarm for when you'll go back to work. Alternatively, let yourself stop working when you hit a certain word count or you finish a section of your work - set yourself a goal and when you've achieved it, reward yourself! You deserve it.

3) Turn off distractions!
Whilst it can be difficult to tear yourself away from beloved Netflix or turn the music off, if you found yourself getting too absorbed in watching something or singing along and not concentrating properly on your work, it's probably best to turn it off. By the end of my A Level revision, I realised that my passion for music had in no way diminished but my productivity had - I focused too much on it and I found working in silence, I could really concentrate and absorb the knowledge I was trying to revise or finish the essay I needed to write!

4) Start early!
For some, it may be too late and this is something I only ever remember in hindsight that I never remember to do for my next assignment. Starting early and doing small bits every few days is so much easier than doing it all in the three days before. I always have a friend that manages to be motivated enough to do their work weeks before it's due in but I find I need more pressure that a looming deadline gives me. This is a bad thing though! One thing I'm definitely going to work on this year is being more efficient with my assignment deadlines!

5) Do as much as you can to make yourself interested in your work!
I know it's hard, particularly in school, to be given work that you care about - writing about books in English or plays in Drama can be awful if you don't like what you're working with. But if you can do everything you can to talk about things that interest you within your subject then it'll make it that slight bit more bearable. For example, my English Language coursework last year was really broad - we just had to explore an aspect of language so I chose music magazines aimed at different audiences and I got a B because I was interested (there was a pie chart and everything). It's tricky, but there are ways to bend it to suit you - particularly as you progress through school, you get more freedom in A Level than you do at GCSE and way more freedom at uni than in A Levels!

Now obviously these tips are somewhat biased, as I can only give you advise based on what I've seen work or what I find works best for me - having been through two years of GCSEs, two years of A Level and just starting university, it took me a long time to understand what I needed and what kind of work environment works for me. I don't think I've completely found it yet, but finding out what doesn't work is as crucial as figuring out what does! 

Good luck!

Monday, 7 December 2015

Almost the end of term!

I imagine by your second or third year at university, 'half term' will seem like a fond, distant memory but as a first year student who hasn't had a week off since September - I'm missing my October half term right now!

This week I enter my 11th academic week at university and I'm really starting to feel it - with two looming deadlines this week (the remaining two lingering in the 'after Christmas' haze) and the prospect of going home for Christmas in less than two weeks, these last days at uni feel like years.

But, fellow first years, freshers - we've almost made it through our first semester! At this point, universities and colleges around the country start to break up for the best part of a month off over Christmas. My university is more like school in that we only get two weeks off from December 18th to January 4th - I'll probably spend most of it sleeping!

However these last two weeks I think will be fun - everyone's starting to feel more festive, there's Christmas jumpers everywhere and all the lecturers and tutors are counting down the days as much as the students are! Everyone's tired and that 10am lecture seems like a lot of effort to all that attend.

Though everyone's ready for the holidays, it's nicer to think that we've made it through 12 weeks (in my case) of moving away from home, living for ourselves and studying something you love (hopefully)!

I'm not sure whether I'm trying to convince myself or you that we can make it to the end of term! It's only two more weeks.

Two more weeks of trying to sleep in halls when people are running down the corridor at 2am, two more weeks of stressing over assignments and trying to balance and prioritise what's important and two more weeks of making ready meals and pot noodles and craving dad's cooking!

Of course I'm being somewhat sarcastic - I don't mean to make it all sound as bleak as that. As I was lying in bed last night I realised I'm probably the happiest right now that I've ever been! And 12 weeks of uni has definitely contributed to that - new friends, an amazing course and a brilliant university.

Here's to Christmas!

Monday, 30 November 2015

Feeling Homesick

One of the biggest parts of university is the aspect of moving out and living for yourself - learning to cook, keeping your room clean without being nagged and not relying on a parent or anyone else.

Some people struggle with this - personally I found it quite difficult to adjust but I'm approximately four hours away on a train. I know people who can nip home for the afternoon and others who take their washing home every weekend but that doesn't work for me.

So I thought I'd talk about five ways that helped me cope with moving away from home and not starving!

Number 1: don't be afraid to ask questions!
It's likely that your parents are as worried about you as you are a little bit scared to be away! If you don't quite know how to cook something properly or you don't know how long you can leave last night's dinner in the fridge before it starts growing something gross, just ask! My mum got so many questions about how to cook pasta and how often I have to change my sheets in the first week and she said she was relieved to have me ask, rather than worrying if I was doing it at all!

Number 2: surround yourself with new people!
This can be different for everyone - with freshers events, halls and a brand new course to get used to, you can be surrounded by a lot of new people and if making new friends can be a little bit overwhelming, I don't mean you need a group of twenty people around you! Distracting yourself with new friends and getting to know new people - no matter how many there are - is a good way to really be absorbed into university life and not spend all your time worrying about home.

Number 3: find a set time to contact home!
In the first couple of weeks, I rung my mum on a Monday night and we chatted for an hour or two about what I'd been doing in the week, people I'd met and things I'd learnt and she could tell me about what was going on at home. But only being on the phone once a week meant we could really catch up and have a lot to talk about without spending the whole phone call talking about what we're missing out on in each other's lives. If you're thinking about home too much, you're not going to be paying attention to what's going on in your new life!

Number 4: don't go home too often!
Since moving in mid-September, two and a half months ago, I have been home twice - for my sister's birthday and my dad's birthday. It's likely that after Christmas I won't be going home as much because I don't have the reason to and I'm much more settled now. If I'd gone home any more than that I think I would have struggled a lot to go back to Southampton because I'd have gotten attached to home again - it's a balance of going home and getting that familiarity but also making your university town or city your home too.

Number 5: bring aspects of your old home into your new one!
In my home town bedroom, I always had fairy lights and lots of pictures and posters on the wall and nice blankets and pillows to make the room cosy and I've done that at uni too. My friends mostly hang out in my room because it's so cosy and cute (mostly their words... but I do love my room!) and it definitely helped me settle into my room faster because it brought that little bit of home into my new home.

Obviously these are things that work particularly well for me - some people don't feel any kind of homesickness, some people aren't ready for uni and that's okay and some people live close enough to their uni that they can commute, but it's likely that I'm not the only one out there that is quite far from home and needs a little bit of help adjusting!

For me it's proportionality - having enough of home that I'm not trying to settle into somewhere brand new but also being able to differentiate my two homes and have different things to look forward to and miss. 

I do consider university my second home now and I couldn't be happier for it!

Monday, 23 November 2015

Submitting Assignments

As Christmas approaches, a lot of students will be facing deadlines - assignment deadlines, looming exams; it's all a bit daunting.

Before the end of term, I've got four assignments completing two units due and the remaining two assignments that make up the third unit are due straight after New Years, with three brand new units starting after that! Today is the deadline for my second assignment.

Having been given the assignment two months ago, you'd think everyone on my course would have had it all under control and sorted, right?

Of course not!

Whilst we've all been somewhat working on it for two months, the majority of the work has been done in the past week - I wrote the last part of the assignment yesterday morning and submitted it last night (to save myself that extra bit of stress today).

Planning is a big part of getting assignments done - it doesn't need to be done in the first week it's set, often that can mean that the assignment might not be as well done as if the whole time allowed was used, but designating time to do a little bit once, twice a week will get it done.

For me, what works best is printing out a calendar and using coloured pens to mark on it when my deadlines are, social events and things I need to do so I can allocate work time. Lists are also a big help - my to do list today includes writing this blog post, doing some class prep work and chipping away at some assignment prep work too!

Obviously I can only advise on the kind of assignments I get - I do one course out of the thousands on offer and if someone does a more heavily essay or practical based subject, it all changes.

But after years of exams and coursework with GCSEs, A Levels, B-Techs and everything else, hopefully you have an idea of how best you study and what works ideally for you - at the end of the day, it's all about you and making sure you're okay and have everything under control in the end.

Assignments are tricky and can be daunting with deadlines fast approaching, but the feeling you get when you submit it and you know you're done makes it all worth it.

Monday, 16 November 2015



My name's Sophie and I'm a multimedia journalism student at Southampton Solent University. 

Whenever I say I'm studying 'multimedia journalism', most people ask what that means - they get what journalism is but what does multimedia mean? 

Well, to break it down it's multiple forms of media - we study not only writing copy but taking photos, making video and working in radio too. And that's what made the course appeal to me so much.

Before I applied to university I already ran my own blog and I've had my YouTube channel for almost two years now - I love making things and sharing the content I make online and when I found this course, I knew it was just everything I was doing already or wanted to be doing but I'd be getting a degree for it!

Outside of blogging and videos, I love creative writing - I've written literally hundreds of short stories and I even finished a full length novel in 2012 but I haven't had the chance to get back to it yet (A levels, moving across the country, university, y'know I'm a bit busy!). Music is also a massive passion of mine - concerts are my favourite place in the entire world and whenever I'm stressed or sad, I just put my headphones on and cut off the rest of society and listen to music because it's so relaxing for me.

I'm a very passionate person - I throw myself head first into any challenge I face, so I'm really excited to start blogging for UCAS!

Thank you for reading,