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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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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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

Review year one: My results

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I remember the build up to my results day. I was convinced I wouldn’t get into university. I had made the foolish mistake of choosing my two final options as two places that had asked for the same amount of points? Why I hear you ask. Well a) because I was foolish, I made the choice without the proper time to think it through. In fact I hadn’t even visited my first choice when I put it down! b) because I was so surprised to have been offered a place. One of them I had to send off a virtual interview, to a camera, the second I had never thought I would get it! It was my highest jump to get there. They both gave me offers and I worked to get them so that’s where I wanted to go.

So if I didn’t get into one I didn’t get into any. Now thats pressure! My Sixth Form had set up stands in the hall on results day with universities close by who would be able to give you a clearing offer then and there. I had the number ready to phone I was pretty much ready to go. My mum had taken the day off work so she would be able to take me. I have never been the smartest girl in the world, I have struggled through school battling dyslexia and was always the ‘dumb’ one of my group. However the thought of not getting in still panicked me.

6:30, thats the time my results were published on the college website. I logged onto the website scared stiff. I’d told my family I was going to university what do I say when I don’t get in? I looked at the results and my stomach dropped; I didn’t get it. I was a few marks off the grade I needed, I wanted to cry.

I logged onto the UCAS website waiting to go through the clearance system. I needed a number? I didn’t really understand but I would  sort it out. It took a few attempts to log in. UCAS tends to crash a little on results day, well we all want to know if we got in don’t we. (You can ring I think!) There it was My first choice university- Accepted.

They decided that the few marks didn’t count and gave me the place anyway. I am into university.

My friends and I had arranged to go out that night to celebrate. Everyone I have spoken to says the best night to go out is results night. (Would it be bad to do it again this year?) Everyone is so excited to get into university, or is drowning their sorrows. My friends and I met up to see who got into where and what they were doing.

Not all of my friends managed to get into their first choice. In fact one of my friends didn’t get into either of his options. Although this initially seems like the worst thing that can happen, in fact it is not. My lovely friend has also just finished his first year of university because he went through clearing with the help from our sixth form.

All of my friends that wanted to go to university have now finished their first year of university. I know many of you are currently worrying about getting your results but I hope that this has helped you to not worry just a little bit.

How are you feeling about your results and what do you want to do?

Lauren x