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!

 

Dare to be different- My GCSE Art short film

Art

Art is definitely my favourite subject in GCSE, As part of our topic of Past,Present and/or future I decided to experiment with art in the style of Alexa Meade; Painting directly onto people to transform them into a painting.

Thank you so much to my friends for being my models and letting me cover you in acrylic paint ! If you give this a go please make sure to only use PA approved paint otherwise it will have harsh chemicals in it! i found it a lot more effective with just 2 contrasting colours but i did gradually add dome colour to one of them to show change through time (also demonstrated through the changing of seasons).

The main message I wanted to get across was that women need to empower each other, there is so much media out there that causes conflict between friends and jealousy is often the root cause. I named this ‘dare to be different’ to show that its ok to be different, its good to step out of your comfort zone, its amazing that we areal so unique. The other message was to show stepping into reality, when they step out of the painting and into the  ‘real world’ it demonstrates the unknowingness of will there be a brighter future? to show curiosity and exploration.

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TO see the whole video click here…. tell me what you think 🙂

(my video editing skills definitely need working on though haha)

practice interviews?

Advice, Lifestyle

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if you live in the uk you will probably have to do a practice interview at some point, its not something all schools do but it was in hindsight a great experience so that you can get feedback and know what an interview is like before doing it ‘for real’. I know a lot of people (including myself) get anxious coming to to an interview even if it is ‘just a practice’. Here are my life lessons (haha) from having a practice interview and other advise I’ve been told from employers:

  1. first, breathe! if you’re anxious and this counts for any situation, breathing is always the best way to calm yourself down. For me if i know am overly nervous i know that i am more likely to go blank if they ask me a question and i won’t think clearly so breathing really helps to get out of that mindset.
  2. act confident, interviewers like to see that you turn up with a smile on your face, good posture, a firm handshake and seem like you know what you’re talking about.
  3. I speak really quickly so a definite tip to my future self is to take it a little slower next time!
  4. Have a career\ life goal in mind. The most my practice interviewer wanted to know was what I am planning to do with my life, that i can set goals for myself and how i am going to achieve those goals.
  5. If you a student really take all the opportunities you can, i know that there are so many people who come to having an interview and have nothing to say for what they had done at school and what responsibilities that had taken on. This could be work experience, volunteering, helping out the school in some way or generally getting involved in anything your interested in

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I am by no means an expert in career advise, i have only done a practice interview but this may help those who are about to have there interviews.

For our school we had to find a smart outfit to wear so all the boys wore suits and girls wore dresses or suits. It was a good experience as my interviewer gave me advise at the end and thoroughly went through my cv as to what was good and what i could add or remove.

what advise do you have for interviews?

have you ever had a bad interview experience?