How To Survive: Your First Year At Uni

October 23, 2015


For most university is a step not a goal, we set out to a new city ready for a change and prepared to start an exciting adventure. Setting up your accommodation, meeting a bunch of different people and the whirlwind of freshers sets you up for an incredible time but unfortunately, the freshers high doesn't last and as assignments roll in so can doubts.

Don't get me wrong, university is an amazing experience but as is the case with most things the reality of university is not always the sunshine & rainbows those looking back with nostalgia paint it to be. So, for those of you who have chosen to go to university, or are perhaps returning and starting over, here's some tips on how to make it through your first year relatively unscathed.

1) Talk to everyone
Starting uni you're never short of people to meet, from your halls to your course to your student union there are thousands of people who are in exactly the same situation and are looking to make friends. It may seem awkward at first but strike up conversation wherever possible, you really can't go wrong with: 'where are you from/what course are you doing/where are you living?'. Although it's easy to make friends, finding ones you have things in common with takes a little more work; some students are lucky enough to meet their best friend the moment they move in but for those of us not living in a teen comedy, finding a friendship group can take a little longer. Don't panic, it'll happen.

2) Try everything
and no, I don't mean the horrendous alcoholic concoctions that are put together during an ill advised game of ring of fire. Sign up to a union, go to a local gig, volunteer at an event, take up a sport, protest something, take part in Carnage... whatever takes your interest! These events are the moments that make for the best memories and there's no better time to pick up a hobby. Not only that, you'll meet people who share your interests. After all, there's nothing like a bit of hazing to bond you for life.

3) Don't expect to change (at least not straight away!)
Going to university is the perfect time to reinvent yourself, especially if you're moving to a new city but it's important to remember that change is usually a slow process and as much as you wish something to be, nothing changes unless you do. Chances are if you're naturally quite shy and introverted, you're not going to turn into a loud extrovert overnight and that's okay! Of course, if there's things you want to change, a hobby you want to pick up or stereotypes you want to shed then go wild, it really is the perfect time for it. But don't try to become someone you're not, especially not to impress somebody else, it's really not worth the effort.

4) Keep in touch
Some people spend their first day away from home sobbing and regretting every decision that lead them to that point and some people are already drunk. I was neither of these people. I left for university ready to get the hell out and was more than happy to wave my family off and never look back (sorry, Mum). So determined was I to make a fresh start, that I unintentionally cut myself off from those who I care about the most. Even if you do get caught up in your new life, make sure you take the time to keep in touch with your friends and family, they'll be there when you need them the most.

5) It's okay to be sad & it's okay to ask for help
There's so much pressure to make university 'the best days of your life' that it can be hard to admit you're struggling. If you're having problems with your course, your relationships or even homesickness, you're not alone and there are so many people and services that are there to help you. If you're not enjoying your course, speak to a lecturer; they'll be able to help you with your modules or even offer advise on changing course. If you feel overwhelmed by your new life, check out your university's counseling options, they have workshops and trained counselors to help you manage all aspects of university life. If you're homesick, try to schedule a visit from your parents/friends or perhaps plan a trip home so you have something to look forward to. There's no defeat in asking for a little assistance and it'll be worth it in the long run.

6) Explore your new city
Sure the majority of university is simultaneously balancing your workload & your alcohol limit but if you've chosen to move to a new city, get out & explore. It doesn't have to be expensive, most cities have free museums not to mention parks, libraries and fairs. Grab a friend & get out. it's time to fall in love with your surroundings.

7) Trust your gut
This seems like common sense but we often override what we feel with what we think. Turning the volume down on anxiety you know is irrational is great but suffering through uncomfortable situations for fear of what others may think is pointless and potentially dangerous. If something doesn't feel right, don't do it. Seriously.

8) If you're going to bail, bail early
This rule applies to pretty much everything. From a housing situation to your decision to stay at university; if it's not for you, don't drag it out. We all have those insane moments, usually at 3am when trying to complete an essay due in in 6 hours, where we think 'screw it, I’m done!' but if you're serious, talk it through with someone who knows you and someone impartial, like your course leader, and make a decision that's best for you. There's always another option and there's no shame in changing your mind.

Whatever you do & however you decide to spend it, I hope your time at uni is everything you hoped for & more.

Monki See, Monki Do

September 16, 2015

IMG_7500IMG_7504Dress: Monki // Socks: Primark // Boots: New Look // Necklace: ASOS

I've been creeping on Swedish brand Monki since they launched on ASOS in 2013 but never bothered to make a purchase as it seemed futile. Then last month, Danielle wrote an article for The Debrief about What Monki Can Offer You If You're A Plus Size Girl & well, I couldn't resist!

I picked up the Rory dress while I was in Amsterdam & I may never take it off. Not only is it cute as hell, it has pockets!


Happy Birthday To Me! (Or 5 Things I'd Like To Do At 25)

September 09, 2015

birthday(Check out those creases, this is what happens when you have to do a last minute change after spilling coffee all over yourself)

It's that time again, another year older, another year wiser or at least that's what I tell myself.

For the first time since turning 18, I haven't been dreading my birthday. There's been no anxiety surrounding the inevitability of ageing, no overwhelming panic regarding all the things I should have done already, not even a minor meltdown about the dreaded greys. I feel weirdly calm, like I'm finally settling into adulthood & it's not as horrifying as I once feared. I'm finally at a place where I can recognise my life isn't where I want it to be but I'm ready to change it & honestly, I'm excited about the potential ways in which I can fill these next 5 years.

Am I growing up or am I just drunk? Either way, here's 5 things I want to do this year:

1) Learn to drive Whether it be money, time or just effort I've never seen learning to drive as a priority but I've spent far too long riding the peasant wagon & it's time for a change. In my expansive experience of being a bus wanker, I've been harassed, verbally abused, been covered in the remains of a window, suffered through multiple collisions and even been sat on (on purpose, might I add) so I think it's time I put pedal to the metal. Not to mention, how cute would I be cruising around town with the windows down?

2) Fall in love ...With a place! Before I'd even applied to uni, I knew Leeds was where I wanted to go. I fell in love with the city the first time we came to visit & I could just envision myself living here. Fast forward five years, five jobs & five moves later & the excitement has gone. What once felt like an adventure, is now a boring routine & I'm pretty fed up. Whether that means moving city or just exploring new places, I'm ready for a change. .

3) Visit 5 countries This already seems like a tall order for someone who hasn't been out of the UK in 3 years but I've been desperate to travel for the longest time. Several international trips have fell through after friends have changed their minds but after reading about Sian's solo adventures, I'm finally prepared to go it alone. Even if I only prepare for 2017 travels, I'm determined to make several trips in 2016.

4) Choose a career path That dreaded 'C' word. I've been avoiding this forever because honestly in today's economy who has the funds to pursue their dream? While I'm not prepared to sign up to one of these unpaid internships or worse move back home, I should probably at least try to do something that doesn't make me want to jump in front of a bus every morning. Suggestions on a postcard, please.

5) Complete a 5k Ugh, just writing that down is horrifying but bizarrely, I love running. Considering, when I was at school you couldn't pay me to participate in cross country or track, I've found that I love the feeling of pushing yourself, of setting goals & achieving them, of feeling like you're going to die but carrying on anyway because the rush of endorphins is so worth it! Unfortunately, if you've ever seen me in the gym (or on the rare occasion outside), you'll know that I am utterly shit at it. Don't get me wrong, for 3 minute bursts I think I'm Usain Bolt but then my lungs collapse & my legs betray me so it's back to casual, slightly wheezy, walking until my major functions come back. I got to week 5 on my Couch to 5k app before I saw that workout 2 involved running for 12 minutes, needless to say I swiftly went back to week 4 to those safe 5 minute intervals. No more! Time to suck it up & get to week 10. Pray for me.


Leeds Festival 2015

September 03, 2015


Festival season is over & oh, what a way to go out! 3 rainy days into September and I already long for the hazy summer days of listening to music with a cold cider in hand. This year was my sixth time at Leeds Fest & I have to say it didn't disappoint, for once the sun was shining & there wasn't a drop of mud in sight.

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After a slightly delayed start, we managed to all the way there before we realised we'd forgot the bloody tickets, we made it to the main stage just in time for Panic!'s set (Brendon Urie back-flipping? Sweet Jesus!). As is my luck, the two things I wanted to see clashed so we spent the majority of the day chilling at the main stage; Bastille were a highlight whereas Mumford & Sons were a snooze fest & I can't help but wish I'd gone to see the whole of Knife Party's set instead. My favourite performance of the day had to be Limp Bizkit, my little mosher heart couldn't take it! What better way to end Leeds Fest than with a mosh pit in the NME tent?

Kaftan: Joanna Hope @ Simply Be // Cami: Simply Be // Shorts: ASOS // Belt: ASOS // Jacket: Simply Be // Wellies: Hunter // Bag: Simply Be // Sunglasses: ASOS

Until next year!

Mickey Mouse Club

August 28, 2015

Dungarees: Primark // T-Shirt: Primark // Sandals: New Look // Sunglasses: ASOS

I know what you're thinking & no, I'm not auditioning to be the newest member of the Cbeebies crew; even if I do think me & Mr Tumbles would make a cracking duo!

Dungarees, 'Birks' & Minnie Mouse Buns is pretty much the textbook definition of a Man Repeller outfit but who has the time to care? I picked up these dungarees last Summer & my mother questioned if I'd been taking fashion inspiration from Andy Pandy. Safe to say, I only wore them once! But when I saw Amy killing it in her dungarees, I knew I needed a pair in my life. I went to dig out my black ASOS ones, only to realise I gave them away about a year ago.... Then I remembered I had these & I haven't been out of them since. Honestly, who has time to be attractive when you're comfy & cute?