How to survive university

I thought for my first post of the new year I would look at how to survive university. Students all around the country are currently looking at what university they should go to and sending in their applications. So let’s give them a heads up! 

 Make friends.

Everyone makes friends so easily at uni, its the atmosphere. However if you sit in your room, not talking to any one and counting down the days you can go back to family or your other half, your unlikley to do very well. Your friends will help you out when your stressed with work, need advice and take you out when you want to be boring.

Be organized.

The worst thing would be if you realized you 5,000 word essay was due in tomorrow, or worse last week. Keep a diary, where you have written all you deadlines, presentations, and exams. I missed one of mine in the first year due to remembering it wrong.

 Go out. 

I am not a huge night clubber, I would prefer to have good night in with a bottle of vodka and a group of friends. I think in the first year you need to go on nights out, because half of my memories are from funny things that happen on nights out.

 Learn how to reference. 

One of the things that I think EVERY student needs to learn as soon as possible, is how to reference. In my house I am the Queen of referencing and my housemates are always asking me advice. However when I was in my first year, I failed loads of my assignments because I didnt reference properly. Does your university do Harvard Referencing?

Don’t forget the people at home.

For me this is one of the biggest mistakes you can make, your friends from school, college or wherever should stay your friends when your at university and unfortunately it is far too easy to leave them behind.

 Don’t Stress. 

As long as your putting effort into your course work, making friends and having fun then you are doing uni right. Don’t worry too much about how high your grades are, in your first year it really doesn’t matter.

Lauren. x

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The Stress of Exams

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Me at university- Stressed!

Over the last few weeks my Facebook timeline has been filled with desperate posts about revising and sitting exams, everyone hoping to get into university. Every time I read one of these posts it takes me back to when I was sitting my exams.

I have never been academically smart, I have struggled by being a solid C student. While my friends managed to walk into an exam, without revision. “I looked through my notes this morning.” was a phrase I heard too many times, followed a few months later by a soul killing “Oh, I got an A.”

At aged 7 my English teacher and tutor diagnosed me with Dyslexia, I struggled with my writing, often merging 3 words together, and always adding an ‘E’ where it wasn’t needed. However in my following schools they dismissed the idea, saying I was boarder line but it wasn’t serious enough to give me any additional house.

While I sat my A-levels and GCSE’s the pressure got too much for me, I constantly stressed about not doing enough revision or that I would suddenly forget everything when I got into the exam. I swear it actually did!

However after all my stressing, my worrying, emotional breakdowns and moody attitude. I got into university. Looking back over my school years I am amazed. I went from the girl at bottom of the class, who had been told she had Dyslexia to the person I am today, studying Journalism, getting firsts in my coursework and doing really well.

What’s the point of the post. Although your exams are important and you want to do your best. Don’t stress out about it, In my case I don’t think I got the right grades but my chosen university sit let me in any.

Trust me, everything will work out perfectly!

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Cosmopolitan’s career guide!

A few weeks ago I wrote a blog posts about the career masterclass that Compilation held, I had an amazing day in London and thought that the advice they gave was really useful. Some of you lovely readers have asked me to give some more information about what they said. So today  I am going to fill you in on what they said. I hope you enjoy!

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The event was a few weeks ago now and I didn’t write very detailed notes so I am not telling you word for word what they said but you will get the idea. I would also like to point out that the talk looked at working within the media industry.

  1. What do you want to be?

When you were picking what to study at university you had to decide what you wanted to be when you are older. If you took Journalism then you are probably thinking about becoming a journalist, and even if you didn’t know what to do you have already narrowed it down; you can’t become a medical doctor by studying English.

Now you are at university you need to start thinking more specifically about what exactly you want to do. Let’s assume for now that you want to work within journalism, well what type of journalists do you want to be? In my group of friends we have one person who wants to do local news journalism, one who wants to become a fashion journalist and me who wants to go into Public Relations.

Through your university work and assignments you should be testing out different aspects of the area you are studying, this goes for most courses not just journalism. If you still can’t decide what aspect of the industry you want to get into then you need to get out of there and find out where your passion lies.

Through out the day the wonderful Cherry Healy kept giving great advice about how to gain experience and work out what you want to do within the media industry. Her advice was to pretty much get out their and try the waters. If you think you want to work on set, produce or anything like that then get on a set. You can then see what is needed within the role. You can do this by contacting production compnaies and offering your voluntary work for a day or how ever long you feel suitable for.

  1. Build your CV

Ok, so you know what you want to get into doing when you have finished university and entered the big wide world. You can now use your time at uni to build a CV so that your future employer can never say no to you.  If your course is anything like mine you will be really busy during the term time however  my summer is something like 5 months long. So what a perfect tome to gain experience.

A number of large firms, in most professions, have summer internships which you can apply for. Some of these will even be paid. However you can also work for smaller companies who will pay your expenses and volunteer for local charities (writing a newsletter, creating a Pr campaign, filming youtube videos etc)

  1. Be unique, be you!

I guarantee that if you have spoken to anyone about writing a CV, then they will have said something about making it stand out from the crowd. The truth is there are hundreds of people applying for one position at the moment and you need to be the CV they look at. I always feel like I should channel a little Elle Woods from Legally blonde with her pink CV.

Jazz Kaur, Benefit PR mastermind, said that her first job she applied to was for L’Oreal, she ended her application with   “You should hire me because I’m Worth it.”Using their Iconic catchphrase obviously worked because she got the job.

Well, this has become a super long post so I am going to end there. I hope this helped you.

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Uni Confessions: 

~ I am getting ready for the Cosmo Blogging Masterclass. Anyone going?

~I am working in PR for a charity this summer. 

 ~What are you looking forward to this summer? I am hoping to go to Benicassim, a festival in spain.  

Getting into uni: virtual interview

Well, we are getting to the stage of the year when students have applied to universities and are starting to get ready for interviews. So I thought I would write a blog post for the future University students, all about interviews for university. This will be a series of blog posts, so I hope it will cover the type of interview you have.

Virtual Interview.

I am starting with a virtual interview as this is one of the ones I had to do to apply to my backup university. When I was looking around to find out what to do I found there were hardly any information on it, so I felt this was important.

What the Heck is it?

This is the normal response to hearing about a Virtual interview however it is actually very simple. Your chosen university will send you a list of questions, the idea is that you record the answers to these questions and send the video back to the university admissions office.

What courses use this?

In my case this was used for a media related degree and I think that this is the most common use for this type of interview. However I think that it could also be used in Drama and Dance related degrees. The idea is that you will show your skills and confidence in front of the camera as well, in the case of media, your skills at editing together the footage.

My Key Tips

  • Start thinking of your answers as soon as you receive the questions.
  • Record in front of a blank background. A patterned background will distract from what you are saying.
  • It is still an interview- Look presentable.
  • Send it in recorded delivery and make sure there is more than enough time to get there.
  • Get a friend/ family member to help record it.
  • Make sure you edit them as professionally as possible, including the questions so they know what your answering.
  • Show off your personality.

I am not sure if this is something I should continue, but I hope it helped some people. Back to normal posts later this week.

P.s. My friend Jess said that I only update my blog late at night, so I tried to be a little earlier!

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Who is bright?

I am sure you have heard the news of education secretary, Michael Grove’s plans to get rid of the current GCSE’s and put in place an O-Level style examination which will account for 100% of your grades. The idea behind this is the “top grades will only go the the brightest pupils.” but what makes a student bright. As this is school related, as is this blog in a way, I thought I would write my thoughts.

I was always the child who put in so much effort at school. I would study for weeks before an exam, meanwhile my friends would be messing around on the computer or watching tv. However I would always be the one who would be amazed if I got a C and for a reason that was normally my highest grade!

After struggling though years of school, through what felt like exam after exam. I finally scrapped my way into college, while I was there I enrolled on a coursework based course. Of course the rest of my friends from school easily got into A-Levels with minimal work.

On my course, everyday went into course work. Every day I did something that would give me my final grade. Rather than spending most of the 2 years doodling my way through a lesson followed by a few hours of intense pressure. Everyday counted, my friends never understood why I wouldn’t go out in the week, why I was so worried about doing my work on time. They didn’t need the same dedication.

In my case doing a course-work based subject was the only way I would get into University. In fact I feel like one of the reasons I have adapted to university so well is because my course had already been similar to that for 2 years.

Why are we telling students they are stupid because they can’t do exams? I spent years thinking I was so thick because I failed so many exams but actually I am so much cleaver in so many more ways.

I have a friend who is super smart on paper, gets A’s easily but has the common sense of a 3 year old. Where as I have good communication skills, empathy and creativity he is book smart. But which one of us is brighter? Well it depends on the situation. I would much prefer him to be my Surgeon. He would know exactly the proper way to do it. But he would suck as a normal doctor and would really suck as a writer.

We are all bright in our own way. So Mr Grove, I am not stupid! I just can’t do exams. I have learnt for 3 years know in a way that everyday counts, just like it will at work.

So watch out for when I’m a journalist!

This post was not meant to look down on A-level students, I really admire that you can do exams but it just shows some people shine in other ways.

What are your thoughts on the new exams?

P.s. sorry If this made no sense.

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Results: How did you do?

I can’t believe it has been a year since I was sitting at my mum’s house waiting for my results. I remember after I found out that I had gotten into my first choice I went on facebook to see how everyone had done.

It was one of those days were a million things happen. All my friends were texting me “how did you do?” “Have you got in?” “YAY! I’ve got into uni!” My family were on the landline tentatively asking how I did. What will happen now, and planning the best way to celebrate!

My Facebook newsfeed was filled with status’ about results, changes of address to university halls and education updates. The feeling of excitement washes over me again just thinking of it. Everyones joy was felt through the social media networks and my phone.

However this year I woke up at 7:15 to a quiet house. I am pretty sure everyone is still asleep. In a house that last year had three people getting results (2 A-level and one GCSE) we now have no-one. It’s kind of eerie in a way imagining the excitement of last year; it seems so long ago.

I logged on to facebook today expecting the same rush of updates but there is nothing! I don’t know what my younger friends are thinking, I need to know! So I doubt any of you are following this today, after all you should be celebrating, but if you are let me know how you did.

Have you got into uni? What are you doing there? What uni are you in?

Good luck. I am excited for you!

Job interview: informal

Sorry about the fact that I keep putting off the rest of my first year recap! It’s so hard to write. I am still trying though. However I have for you today a few tips and ideas for going to an informal interview. Mine was an informal job interview, but any type of interview could work.

Dress code:

I always find that for an interview it is best to be cautious, by this I mean even if they say it is an informal interview you should dress up for the occasion. Going in jeans and a t-shirt gives the interviewer the idea you don’t care about the job. This is suitable for a CV drive, where you hand out your CV to a number of companies if they are a casual company but not right for an interview.

For women a skirt or formal dress could be appropriate as long as it is just above the knee or longer. However if you are more confident in trousers  black or grey fitted trousers can look good. Remember you are not seducing your employer to get the job so don’t go into a job interview with your boobs hanging out. A plain top that doesn’t have too much cleavage is best for a job interview. Don’t forget: a blazer always makes an outfit look more formal.

For men you can wear black or grey trousers and may possibly get away with wearing chinos, although they should be in a formal color, Black, navy ect. A shirt is the best option especially if you are wearing chinos. A tie would be acceptable but you can decide if you think it goes with our outfit. Don’t forget that you can never go to formal (unless your in a bow tie!)

Before the interview 

It’s best that you have a basic knowledge of the company before you go. You should know what the company do and how they run. Are they a direct to customers company (i.e a shop) What is their product.

Knowing the basics about the business will allow you to answer the questions they ask you as well as make a conversation without sounding stupid.

Before you get to your interview you can think of some of the questions they are likely to ask. If you are really nervous or unsure then you can get a friend or family member to give you a mock interview. Think Bryn’s mock interview with Stacey on Gavin and Stacey, but hopefully a little easier.

What to do in your interview

Make sure you take a CV with you, my dad is an interview expert and he has taught me about interview from a young age. I always take at least one CV with me, although I often take more, it means that if they don’t have your CV to hand you can give them another one. Or if for some reason they haven’t seen your CV they can.

My step sister went to the same interview as me today, and she didn’t take hers and they wanted one from her. This obviously didn’t make the best impression she could have done. 

In your interview make sure you introduce yourself to your interviewer. Some people have certain rules about shaking hands. I always find it’s best to let the interviewer decide if they are going to shake your hand.

Sell, sell, sell. The whole point of your interview is to show the interviewer that you are the best person for the job. This means that you need to sell yourself, however your not perfection. You should keep in mind that if you say your amazing at everything then people will stop believing you. You need to be honest with your strengths and weaknesses. Some interviewers actually ask for weaknesses as well as your strengths.

I am going to stop now as this is going on forever but I hope this has helped some of you.

Lauren x