UCAS: What I wish I had known

Advice

The UCAS deadline was last Tuesday, and a week on from that deadline I thought I would share my journey applying to university – from choosing the course, choosing the uni’s, the revision and other things to look out for, but before I begin the biggest thing I wish I had known before applying is to look around universities much sooner. I started looking at the end of year 12 but doing this made me realise that perhaps the course wasn’t for me and I had to frantically look around uni’s in the autumn. I would really recommend going to an open day, you really get to sense the ‘vibe’ of the place and see if you could see yourself there. Having in mind where you want to go to university well in advance gives you motivation in your studies too, particularly if you want to do a competitive course or get into a prestigious university. I know some people who had in mind where they wanted to go from year 10, and universities really encourage you visiting from this year too as you can get involved with events they hold or apply to a summer school (which may help make the uni offer you a place).

The courses I have applied for is English Literature and English with politics, the latter is probably my preferred choice as it gives me the flexibility to follow two of my passions but I could only find one university which offered it (Surrey). The other universities I have applied for are…

  • Kings Collage, University of London (I really loved the course and their involvement with The Globe as Shakespeare is the module I love most)
  • Royal Holloway, University of London (Like Surrey, it is just half an hour from London which is close to all the galleries, theatres and buzz – the best of both worlds)
  • Oxford Brookes University (in the heart of a university city, it is easy for me to get home or visit London, the entry requirements are also based on UCAS tariff so there is not as much pressure on me to get a high grade in Biology!)
  • University of Birmingham (I absolutely love the course and they are involved with the RSC, however I have never been to Birmingham and it is much further away)

Initially, in year 12, I aspired to go to the RVC and study Veterinary medicine, however I realised that English was the subject I most loved and enjoyed and that biology and chemistry were subjects that although I enjoyed were not ones I was naturally gifted in.

I don’t know where I will go after (hopefully) completing my degree as there is no obvious route so I’m just going to see where life takes me and continue to do what I love.

My top 5 tips for choosing the right uni:

  • Start looking around as soon as possible
  • go to a summer school
  • Check out the area, this is where you are going to be spending 3 or more years of your life.
  • check the ‘value for money’, check the costs compared to what you are going to get out of your course (for example; whether they offer placements, the number of teaching hours etc)
  • Make sure the course is right for you.

My top 5 tips if you can’t decide what to study:

  • Make an inspiration board / jot down all your passions, interests, what you would like to learn more about, where you want to be in the future, who you want to be etc. (there is a great post about this on lifemoreectrodinary.com)
  • try out MOOC’S and other online courses relating to some areas of interest (future learn is really good or there are a few courses available on the open university website)
  • Try work experience – If there are a couple of career paths you are interested in, try them out and see which one you enjoy most.
  • Talk to friends and family to see if they can give you any ideas about what they can see you doing in the future.
  • Look around universities and talk to subject lecturers, they may enthuse you to want to do a particular course or dissuade you from doing it.

Different universities are looking for different things from you to offer you a place; some are all about the grades only, some are more than happy to except you if you show a real enthusiasm, passion and commitment to your chosen field of study – if the universities you are looking at look for the later then I would recommend really reading around your subject – reading magazines / newspapers, listening to podcasts, watching documentaries, visiting museums, watching plays etc. These are all things you can include in your personal statement to impress your chosen universities.

If you are reading this and thinking about going to uni, feel free to ask about the application process and If you would like to keep updated with more things Uni and study related please sign up to my email list.

Thanks so much for reading :))

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A Chat about Resolutions…

Thoughts

To make or not to make resolutions, that is the question!

I believe that it is good to set goals and why not make new ones each year? You can set out your calendar for the new year and plan how you are going to achieve the goals you want to accomplish and how you can better yourself. I don’t, however, believe in the saying New Year, New You. I used to because I used to think it was useful to think of each year like turning over a new leaf, a fresh start but now I have realised that you are the same you – just like when your grandma asked you how it felt to be a new age, there was no immediate difference, no change but as the year began to go on and you got tasked with new responsibilities you began to feel older. That is how I think of the New Year, setting goals and plans in place to better myself because I am still ‘me’ even though the year has changed. I also believe reflection of the past year is good, the end of a year makes sense to use as a way to judge your own personal success on how much you have worked on being the ‘you’ you want to become.

So what are my ‘resolutions’?

  • To learn how to cook (I kinda know the basics but if I am going to university next year, I think I need to live on more than tomato pasta or beans on toast alone)
  • To be more consistent with my blogging – I love that I have got the opportunity to post my opinions on this platform and I would love to make the time to fit writing into my schedule.
  • To revise! I have got A levels this year and I really would love to get the best grades I can to get into the university of my choice.

As a student, and no ‘real’ career plan I’m really just basing my goals on my studies and doing what I love and hoping that that might bring me to where I want to be. I also have my yearly ‘reading goals’ to read more books outside of my lessons.

My top tips when making your goals / resolutions (whatever we are calling them!)

  1. Make a plan of how you are going to stick to it. If you are thinking of giving up smoking, begin by saying, ‘I’ll have 1 cigarette a day for a week’ then the week after that by saying, ‘i’ll have one every other day’, then ‘one a week’ etc. If you make a plan you are more likely to achieve your goal.
  2. Be realistic about what you can achieve in that year – if you have never really read for pleasure before and set yourself the goal of reading 20 books you are unlikely to achieve it (but set long term, so called ‘unrealistic’, plans too as Walt Disney once said, ‘If your dreams don’t scare you, they are not big enough!’)
  3. Reward yourself. Every time you reach a milestone, no matter how small, be proud of yourself and give yourself a reward – perhaps your favourite food, or a break somewhere.

I asked some friends and family about what they thought about resolutions…

They consensus was that it is stupid to think that that a new year is the only time that you can change things in your life, if you can’t achieve them any other time of the year why will you now? Many feel fed up of making resolutions only to give them all up mid January.

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you have an amazing new year and that you achieve all your goals! Spend New Year’s Eve happy about what you have achieved thus far, be proud of yourself!

See you for my 2018 review and what I am looking forward to next year up at midnight tonight!

 

Winter Clothing Staples

Fashion, Style

What to wear in the winter can sometimes be tricky, particularly as in England at the moment it is not that cold – here a few of my all time favourite things to wear in the winter and a few new additions to the wardrobe that I absolutely love and I predict will become my staples.

The most important thing I think when it comes to my winter wardrobe is LAYERS, Layers, layers. The huge chunky jumpers can be super cosy but difficult to layer so you can end up being rather hot or too cold. Solution? Chunky cardigans…

This one from And Other Stories (quickly becoming a new favourite store although many of the items are slightly out of my price range), is so cosy and easy to layer as I brought it in a medium so I can layer and it is not that chunky so I can still fit a coat over the top. My relationship with cardigans is not always a great one – I find it difficult to find ones in a style that suits me as I can end up looking completely drowned in huge long cardigans or looking like a grandma in others but so many friends look amazing in them – so you may be one of those people but if you aren’t, like me, do check And Other Stories out; I think they also do one in this style in a few other colours too.

Jeans are often a go-to in winter, they are so easy to wear with all the jumpers! However if, like me, you get a little bored with wearing the same thing everyday I would urge you to give trousers a go. These flared, legging, corduroy material ones from Stradivarius were really inexpensive at £19 and since buying them I haven’t stopped wearing them, they are so comfortable yet look really stylish for any occasion.

On the other hand, if you are on the look-out for a new pair of jeans I love this 80’s mom-style from Weekday, I brought them from ASOS as they are often putting them in the sale. Mine are a bit loose so I always wear them with a belt so if you are thinking of buying a pair maybe try going down a size. But they are SO comfortable, the denim is really soft and the light wash colour means they will be perfect to wear all year round.

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Turtlenecks – I love a turtleneck. You can layer them with jumpers over the top or for warmer days with just a coat like I am in the photo above which was taken down Carnaby Street in London. I am a huge queen fan and I loved the themed lights – It is still open if you want to go see them! The striped one is from Brandy Melville and the grey is one I brought from Primark probably 5 years ago – I tend not to shop there any more because everything is mass produced and unethical to those who make it (I talk in more detail about this issue with fast fashion here).

(The coat is from Zara last winter for those interested)

In summary my top 5 winter staples are…

  1. Thin Jumpers (Cashmere is probably the best but not a cheap choice)
  2. This And Other Stories Cardi
  3. A good pair of Jeans (which you can put tights underneath for extra warmth)
  4. Trousers (to mix things up a bit)
  5. Turtlenecks (you can’t go wrong)

But layering and a great coat is key.

I hope you had a fantastic Christmas and I wish you all the best of luck for the new year, there will be the usual 2018 summary post going up on the 31st and one to start the new year with a little chat about resolutions so ill be back soon!

Thank you so much for reading – it means the world for you all to read and follow my blog!

With love & stuff

Accalia