Well it's almost time to head back to London, and what a great summer this has been!
I managed to get work back at the Eden Project in St. Austell where I worked last year and also managed to secure some weekend work at a bar in my city, where a lot of my friends work! I've had a great time seeing friends and family whilst I've been back but I also made it super important to keep up to date with work that I have been given to do before I start again.
This summer we have been assigned a live project, which involves creating storyboards and characters in preparation for creating a promotional video for a book.
I think its very important to keep in the know with what is going on around you whilst you have time off, and making sure, regardless of whether you have a project or not, that you are keeping yourself involved in your course- it's pretty easy to just sit back and relax all summer, but making sure you keep yourself updated is important. Even if I am not looking at my project or dissertation work, I like to spend parts of the day doing casual research or drawing just to make sure I don't get too lax!
Other than that, summer has been lovely. It's always nice to have a bit of time to do what you want, go to festivals or go on holiday.
When I get back I'll be heading into my third and final year and I couldn't be more excited. This year is the most important in terms of your marks and work so it's going to be important to focus! I'm going to continue with my volunteering at Wimbledon walking the greyhounds and have also looked into kickboxing to get me fit and healthy!
The summer has also been a time for me to reflect on what I have learned over the past couple of years and start to think about what I want to do after I complete the degree. At the moment I've got a couple of directions I think would be great, so I'm planning on talking to my tutors and researching my options! I can't wait to see where this year takes me..:)
As university begins for most Kingston students in about week, it is important to stay connected with your family. No matter where you are in the world, no matter what time of the day it is...you can still see and speak to your loved ones or friends via Skype. It makes those times away from home seem not so lonely. It also connects us to our family when we are far away. This kind of communication is very important for those away from home for the first time. For example, it was a weekly routine for me to Skype my parents every weekend. Without seeing them and hearing their reassuring voices...I would have been very alone in London. As an overseas student, I highly recommend communicating with your family and friends via Skype as it is FREE and very easy to use. Even my parents who aren't very tech-savvy were able to maneuver this with ease. You can use a laptop or IPhone or and IPad...it is so simple and fun!
When I wasn't able to return home for holidays or summers, Skype calls offered me a window to see how my family were, what they were doing...and the lowdown on my three cats. Once I was able to speak to my grandmother via Skype while she was on my parents telephone...on loud speaker. It is possible! In the photo one can see how I was able to be part of the opening of Christmas gifts in 2012. My cats were all dolled up with pretty bows and able to acknowledge my presence even if they couldn't see me on screen. It was so wonderful to see my gifts via the camera and see my parents sitting around the fire place and beside the tree. My boyfriend and I were able to see my family and cats around the festive decorations. It made Christmas seem more exciting and refreshing. Not to mention my three cats made the funniest expressions while hearing my voice. Too funny!
International students will go through this 'missing home' period as well. No matter how self reliant we feel once we move away to university, we soon realize how quiet and busy our lives become. Suddenly we miss any connection we have to home and how this connection keeps us strong. For myself, I wanted to feel part of the family when I missed birthdays, Christmas or special occasions. Thankfully my parents created their own account so it was possible for us to keep each other informed. I always heard the latest news from both sides of the Atlantic.
Since returning to Pittsburgh I use it to keep in touch with my close friends in London. It is great to keep in touch with friends and still feel like your in London again, even if it is just via Skype. They keep me informed with all the latest things happening around Kingston and London in general.
Skype is also a great tool I use to interview people with, such as news articles. Even if I am based in the US, I can still get a great story just by conducting a Skype interview. It truly is a small world with this type of technology. My strong advice is for all university students to create a Skype account if they don't already have one. Please use it as it takes away the home sick feelings one may get when first settled in halls of residence or a shared house. I am glad that my family were able to view my time and life in London just as I was able to see and be a part of theirs. Stay connected!
We all know being a student is stressful work, making sure you hand your assignments in on time and to the best of your ability requires some serious focus and motivation, that's why it's great to treat yourself every now and then for all the hard work you've done. How you chose to do it is all up to you, but if you're like me and love to reward yourself with some sweet treats then look no further, here are my top 5 places for satisfying your sweet tooth!
This is heaven for dessert lovers, with a wide variety of sweet treats many of which are under a fiver (bargain right?) the question is how to stop yourself coming here? Located on Clarence Street, it's a great place to unwind with friends after a day of lectures and just relax........and eat of course.
2. Millie's cookies
Everyone loves cookies don't they? And Millie's are the best of the best. Located by the wood street exit/entrance of the Bentalls Shopping Centre they've got loads of cookie flavour combinations, cookie related treats and ‘meal' deals it goes down a real treat. Also ask about their privilege card which gives you countless discounts too, it's a no brainer.
One day somewhere, someone decided to mix desserts and various other edible products with ice cream and thus Shakeaway was born. Located on Thames Street, Shakeaway's milkshakes are as tasty as they are a blessing on a hot summers day (they don't taste too bad warmed up on a cold winters day either). Look out for their loyalty card scheme which gives you a free milkshake after 10 buys.
4. Baskin Robbins
Imagine the best ice cream you've ever tasted and times that by 10 and you have to dairy genius that is Baskin Robbins. Yes it's sort of expensive but hey you're treating yourself, just imagine all the possibilities ice cream in a tub, on a cone, on a waffle, on a brownie, in a cake, in a milkshake- Mmmmmm. They also have a loyalty card scheme just like Shakeaway.
5. Sweet revenge
Sounds harsh but is anything but, this local shop located in the market place make the cutest and tastiest cakes ever. Buy a cupcake, buy a slice of cake, buy the whole cake or even a brownie if you're not feeling that cakey. My personal favourite is the red velvet cake, a must-buy.
Christmas in Kingston
Uploaded 22 Nov 2013
Keeping organised at Uni
Uploaded 22 Nov 2013
Finding private accommodation and university support.
Uploaded 21 Oct 2013