Sunday, 20 November 2016

Times flies when you're having... fun

How has it already been over 3 weeks since I last posted a blog? I have got to get better at this.

Second year is going surprisingly well. I'm ignoring my to do list and pretending like everything is fine! I'm currently sat on the sofa watching TV and attempting to complete my UCAS application. As I am on a Foundation Degree, I have to apply to a 3rd year programme to gain a full BA. I'm sure this wouldn't be half a stressful if I had started it when I should have instead of waiting 3 days before our internal deadline. But, let's not dwell on that!

We got our presentation feedback back, which was surprisingly okay. I got a better grade than I did last year and that was all I wanted really. It's funny though, getting feedback never gets any easier. I always feel a sense of annoyance when the feedback is really simple, like how I should have had a conclusion on my presentation. Duh.

We are on the Christmas count down now, with only a few weeks to go until uni finishes. At the end of last year, I swore I would use terms with fewer deadlines to get ahead of upcoming work. However, in a term where we have had one deadline at the beginning and one at the very end, I have failed to do this. Of course. So I'm now spending the next couple of weeks writing reflective accounts and filling out paperwork for assessments. We have a deadline the first week back after Christmas, so once this terms deadlines are over I will get going on that.

Also on my to do list, is reading for my research project. We are going to University of Reading next week to have some study skills advice on writing Literature Reviews for our research project which should be good.

I'm hoping to blog about UCAS this week... providing I get my application done!!

Friday, 28 October 2016

A month in

It's not hard to believe that I am already a month into second year. In fact it feels like it's been about 3 months. Going back to uni hasn't been as difficult as I was expecting, and I seem to be finding my rhythm again.

Not unexpectedly, we have been thrown back in right at the deep end. There is a real "you're second years, you know what you're doing so get on with it" mentality. Which isn't an issue, because it's totally true. Thinking back to last year, it's immeasurable how much better I feel about being a student. I know exactly what is expected of me this year and I'm preparing myself to go a little above the expectations I had for myself last year and try and better my studies. 

I have 10 things on my to do list currently, including mostly beginning of the year tasks like writing my targets for the year and setting up my blog on BlackBoard. Some things in my to do list are a little more serious, like writing a personal statement and applying through UCAS for third year. I'm sure there's be many a blog post coming about that!

The first few weeks of term were fairly easy, introductions to new modules and a recap of the one module which continues this year.

Last week we had our first marked assessment of the year, a presentation based on a book we read over the summer. This is our second presentation as we had to give one last year. The difference between last years presentation and this years is immeasurable. I haven't had the results back yet, but I could feel the difference. Firstly I actually managed to stick to the ten minute time limit, intact I overran by almost a minute. But I'll take that over last years 4 minute presentation. I also felt more confident, although I was cutting it fine finishing my presentation and I hadn't actually done a practice run, I felt like I really knew what I was talking about and this made it easier to present. Presentations aren't my forte but as long as I get a better mark than last year I'll be happy. 

We are off campus this week, with set activities to do. I'm spending a few days in Amsterdam, so I'll be exploring the city and eating as much food as I can! 

Friday, 23 September 2016

Second year begins....

It's at this time of year I'm quite grateful that I'm not your typical university student. I don't have to worry about packing my life up and travelling hours in the car to move back to uni. All I have to do is get back into the mind frame of being a student. I say "all I have to do" as if it's the easiest thing. It's not.

As we finished first year, I told myself "have a few weeks off! Relax, enjoy having fewer commitments and time constraints" well those few weeks off turned into a whole summer off and I've done very little that I had planned to do over the summer. With all intents and purposes I had planned to read journal articles and reflect on them. I had planned to read some research relating to my chosen area of study for my own research project I'll be undertaking  this year. I had planned to go through my first year folder, sorting out the mound of paperwork I have on my desk. And yet, somehow none of this ever happened. And now second year has begun.

Well, it officially begins next Thursday but I've been in uni for the last two weeks enrolling and filling out paperwork and revising study skills and talking about the jump from first year to second. It's all a bit overwhelming. There's so much to think about and so much to do to prepare. And of course we are being thrown right back into it. A presentation in four weeks and a research project plan due not too long after that.

I'm looking forward to second year, in a "deer in the headlights" kind of way. I like a challenge and I'm looking forward to starting new modules and returning to old ones too. This year I have been able to choose one of my modules myself which was cool - ok hoping it will make me more motivated as I've chosen a subject  I'm very interested in!

Finding my groove again as a student could be interesting but I'm hoping it won't take too long. I guess time will tell... I'll keep you updated on that one!

Sunday, 12 June 2016

The end is in sight...

WAHOO! I can't quite believe that I am sitting writing this post (when I really should be working...) so close to our final hand in of the first year. It's crazy to think back on this past year, I can't believe how fast it has gone.

This year has been full of challenges and I've learnt so much as I found my way through those challenges. There will most definitely be a blog post coming soon reflecting back on the past year, once I've officially finished everything.

At the moment I still have a lot of finishing off to do, filling out paperwork and completing the last few pieces of work to be handed in on Thursday. But I'm really looking forward to our last uni day on Wednesday. We will be heading to the University of Reading (who facilitate our Foundation Degree) to listen to past students talk about research they have carried out. One of next years modules is a double module, and we will have to conduct our own research project. So this should be really interesting and hopefully inspire us all for next year!

Last Thursday was our last day at uni, so we have been given an almighty stack of reading to tide us over until October and I've got a few articles saved away that I've come across over the year. Plus a few books I bought for my assignment on how the media affects children, which I didn't get around to reading. So my plan is to keep up my reading over the summer, whilst also having a well earned break.

I'm not sure whether we are finishing at the same time as everybody at university, as we're slightly different being off campus. But I hope you're enjoying your summer if you've already finished and if you haven't yet, it can't be long until you're done so keep going!!

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Little things that make studying a whole lot easier... part 2

I love music, and will listen to it at every given opportunity. Is there anything better than driving along, blasting the radio and singing at the top of your lungs? Probably not.

So it's no surprise that when I'm studying  I often have headphones on. I find it helps me to block out the world and keeps me focused. However I listen to very different music when I'm studying, than I would at any other time of the day. I'm particularly partial to classical music and instrumentals of my favourite songs.

I've made a playlist on my Spotify account (which I get half price using my NUS student discount!)
It's an ever growing playlist, which you can listen to here if you so choose. It's currently at 15 songs and lasts just under an hour.

It's mostly instrumental pieces from movies, instrumentals of songs and random pieces of music I've gathered over time. 

Are you like me who can only study when listening to music to blank out all the background noise?! What do you listen to? Any recommdentations to add to my playlist? Let me know!

Monday, 23 May 2016

Little things that make studying a whole lot easier... part 1

Sometimes, studying is really difficult. Sometimes, it's really really difficult.

Let me introduce to you to Momentum which has been a godsend to me in the past few months. Momentum is an extension that can be installed onto Google Chrome browser. It basically replaces the blank tab you would usually get when opening a new tab, with this beaut of a 'dashboard'. I'm so in love with this. The picture changes... I want to say once every 24 hours but I'm not entirely sure?

There are a few things I love about Momentum.
  1. Motivational quotes - There is always a motivational quote right at the bottom of the screen. Who doesn't love a good quote to inspire them?
  2. To-do list - If you've read my previous post you'll know I'm a fan of a to-do list. I particularly like this one because my account has been accepted to the beta syncing so I can access it on any computer I log in to. This is really useful as sometimes I'll find myself with spare time to get some uni work done but will only have my work laptop with me - this means I can log into my account and see what I need to be doing! 
  3. Quick Links - Up in the top left corner is a place for you to keep all your handy links. I usually bookmark links, but this is so much easier and a lot quicker! One click and you're there, ready to learn! 
  4. Today's Focus - When you open Momentum there's a lovely personal greeting along with a line for you to write your main focus. Once you've entered this, a little tick box comes up beside it. So much satisfaction when you can tick off your main focus of the day as complete!
So, there you have it, a quick introduction to Momentum which makes me happier than I care to admit. Let me know if you decide to download it, I'd love to know what you think of it! 

Saturday, 14 May 2016

I'm a little bit distracted this weekend.

I apologise in advance, but please prepare yourself for a post that is completely unrelated to university but I just have to share anyway.

It's been a very exciting week for us at work! For the last three weeks we have been incubating some chicken eggs!! And on Monday they finally started to hatch. We came into school on Monday morning to a tiny little beak sticking out of an egg and lots and lots of noise! 

The little chick has since been named Peeps and is loving life. I've brought them home for the weekend and I just can't resist getting them. But the problem is they're quite distracting, especially when I'm trying so hard to get some work done... but hey, they won't be here for long so I'm making the most of having little chicks around! 

Right before he pooped on my work! 

The children were fascinated when I told them about Lorenz and his study on birds. I told them how he hatched some geese in an incubator and when they hatched they used to follow his green welly boots wherever they went. They thought it was even funnier when they noticed that Peeps would follow me around the classroom!