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What you might not know is that when you come to uni, there are actually plenty of ways to spice up your undergraduate degree. While most people opt for a straight three year course, you might also choose to go abroad for a semester or a year or you might take a year out doing a placement as part of your course. The last of these choices is precisely what I would like to introduce you to.

How it works is that instead of finishing your degree in three years, you will be done after four years and your placement counts towards it. The benefits of doing a placement are several. Firstly, you take a break from uni work. Secondly, you will be able to get a better idea of what areas you are more interested in. You might find that the work you do during your placement isn't in fact what you would like to do for life. And isn't that better than graduating and finding that out after you start a graduate job? Thirdly, you will get the chance to make valuable contacts within the industry. 

You never know what sort of people you will meet, get introduced to, or just generally network with so it's well worth exploring the different career options in front of you while you do your placement. How it typically works is that while Kingston University might suggest companies and businesses appropriate for your area of interest, you will be required to do most of the placement research. The interview process is then just as rigorous as a normal job application process is, so buckle up! You might be required to take verbal reasoning and numerical tests, as well as attending assessment centres and interviews. However, if you are successful, you then get to spend a year as an intern within a company that offers you a place.

Not only will that experience look great on your CV but you will also have something to talk about on your future interviews. Your placement would potentially enable you to stick out of the crowd and show your hard work and perseverance. Adding on to that, after you complete that year, you will still have another year left at university, in case you still have trouble figuring out what it is exactly that you would like to do. 

Having said that, I strongly recommend you opt in for a placement, if your course at Kingston University allows it. It will open numerous doors for your future career.

 

Hey everyone -

I realise I've been a bit AWOL recently. No excuse for that, awfully sorry.

My reason for being away is that at the moment the university is holding its yearly election for the new full time officer posts of the Student Union (KUSU.) And I'm running!

If people who're reading this think that the Student Union is just a bar... WRONG! It's actually three bars. Plus a whole lot of other stuff like Volunteering, Sports, Societies, Education, Campaigns, Protests, Prayers and Polar Bears.

Except not Polar Bears.

The Student Union is a charity, separate from the university (but supported by them) whose primary objective is to support and represent the student body. At Kingston, that's a lot of students!

There are four full-time paid positions within the union - President, VP Activites, VP Student Life and VP Learning & Teaching - and countless other part-time (unpaid) positions that you can run for. The cover all parts of Uni life and represent disability, sexuality, ethnicity etc.

I decided to run for VP Student Life because I've had such a great time here at Kingston and I wanted to give future students the chance to have the same brilliant experiences that I've had

Campaign week was brutal - I ended up taking part in a 'Question Time' interview session with the other candidates. That was, in a word, terrifying. In two words, completely terrifying.

You can watch me here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=75KUKFLOQ84

I put up posters around campus (not too many - don't want to hurt the trees!)

I made a campaign video as well which you can see here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zHAkpenO5Ks

My friend and fellow Ambassador, Beth, was my campaign manager and she designed my posters, did all the photography and helped me put them up across the uni so there was literally no escaping my face!

In the end I didn't win, I came third out of six though and got over two hundred votes. Since I don't have two hundred friends (outside of Facebook obvs.) that means that people who don't know me voted for me because they liked my policies... Boom! J (Smug face)

Overall I was disappointed that I didn't win, but I wouldn't change anything about it at all - the whole process of going out and campaigning, talking to people (occasionally whilst dressed as a dinosaur) and thinking up innovative ways to get my message across to the students was so much fun and a great confidence boost.

If any of you guys go to Uni and have the opportunity to run in the union either as a full or part time officer during your degree, do it!

Seriously, you'll have a blast and who knows... you might get a taste of politics and end up becoming the next David Cameron (but better, obviously.)

 

So this past month has been an interesting one! It was my 21st birthday, which meant that I got well and truly spoilt from my family and friends. I was given money to go on holiday this Summer, as well as loads of lovely gifts and best of all (in my opinion because I'm a bit of a geek) - tickets to Harry Potter world in London from my boyfriend! I have been a massive fan of Harry Potter since I was a little kid and enjoyed reading the books and watching all the films when they came out. Since the Warner Bros tour in London opened, I had wanted to go but never got round to it due to being a poor student (as I'm sure many of you can relate to!), so getting the tickets bought for me, and being able to go and share the day with another HP fan was amazing!

Hogwarts

The tour is in Watford, so it's pretty easy to get to from Kingston which is handy! Once you get to Watford, the tour pretty much starts as soon as you arrive at the station, with posters and signs up as you enter the station to directions to get onto the Harry Potter bus to take you to the studios. When you're on the bus, a video starts playing that gives you information on the studios and how they came to be the set of HP.

The tour itself is amazing, and starts off with a cinema experience, which plays a short film about Harry Potter, the characters and a background on Rowling and how she came to write the books. After the film is finished, the front doors of 'Hogwarts' open and you are presented with the great hall, which is filled with the original casts costumes from a variety of the films, as well as props which line the tables of the great hall. You then walk through into a huge warehouse type room which has loads of the sets, from the common rooms, to Dumbledore's office where you can check out all of your favourite sets, and look at many of the props used in the films, including masks and costumes used by a range of the characters.

There is also an outside section of the tour, where you can see the Weasley's flying car, as well as Harry's house on Privet drive! In this part of the tour you can also buy Butterbeer, which unfortunately is disappointing :( it's kind of a mix between cream soda and energy drink (it's really quite disgusting) although it has some kind of foam on top of it which tastes like toffee and is amazing!

I was quite shocked, that most of the people who were at HP world were adults as me and James were worried about looking too old for the tour and thought it would be predominantly younger children who were there, however we actually found that it was mainly people our age and older - the true fans of HP! Some fully grown adults were even dressed in the full Hogwarts attire!

At the end of the tour is a huge HP themed shop, where you can buy anything from cloaks, to wands, to mugs - although I suggest you take a lot of cash if you're thinking about visiting as guaranteed you will want to buy one of everything! I really would recommend that over your few years in London, if you're a fan then you should visit the tour as it is definitely worth the money and is an amazing experience!

Oh and one final comment - Good luck with your exams guys! :)

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