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,