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During my placement year I was given the opportunity to take part in a number of giveback projects. These usually consisted of going into the local communities and running events and these were particularly rewarding; one of the biggest highlights of my placement.

The main event I took part in was the IBM Robo-Challenge 2014. This involved going into a local school for a few hours a week, and training a group of eight children on how to programme robots, over an eight week period. Following the training we took part in a full day of competitions against other school, at which my team came third overall. On the day, I was so proud of the team, as they managed to win one of the hardest challenges, in which they had an hour to programme to robots around a maze with no help, which showed me how much they had learnt from the training sessions.

All the hours I spent par-taking in giveback were all registered on a database within the intranet of IBM, and once I had built of 40 hours of giveback, I was allowed the opportunity to apply for a community grant. I have recently had confirmation that my grant has been approved, and I will donating my grant to the school I worked with on Robo-Challenge. They will received £600, and intend on buying some robots for the school so they can start their own after-school robot club. 

Placements open the door for many opportunities, and this is just one of my many placement highlights. 

Another personal highlight from my time at IBM would be the 2 day Python Course I was able to attend; not being at university doesn't mean learning has to stop! I have learnt so much while on placement and am sure once I graduate I will be constantly learning throughout my career.

Eat Out: On a Budget

Posted 3 Jul 2014 by Paula

 

We all know life as a student isn't exactly the high life, but that doesn't mean students should live like hermits in the library. There are so many things you can do to entertain yourself that won't break the bank and going out to eat is one of my favourite ways to socialise. I'm going to tell you about a couple places in Kingston and London to do just that!

THE ROTUNDA houses a dozen establishments to fuel your food filled social life, some for under £10 like HUNGRY HORSE; restaurants like FRANGO'S, FRANKIE & BENNY'S, FIVE GUYS and many more. TGI FRIDAY'S, NANDO'S, GOURMET BURGER KITCHEN and PIZZA EXPRESS are just some of the other wallet friendly restaurants around the river side. The Kingston ancient market (which has recently been redecorated) and the apple market are home to small independent outlets serving Australian, Japanese, Indian and good old British food - you're sure to find something you like. The local SLUG & LETTUCE restaurant also has a great half price Monday's deal on all foods.

If you're willing to travel beyond Kingston then you'll definitely want to visit BIG EASY - a BBQ & Crab shack located in Chelsea serving the tastiest meat and seafood; a bit pricier than the others mentioned but not enough to leaving you living like a pauper for the rest of the month. If you go to Valley Park in Croydon you'll find JRC GLOBAL BUFFET which, as the name suggests, is an all you can eat buffet restaurant serving a range of pan Asian dishes and delicious desserts for only £15.99pp.

These are but a few great restaurants around town which won't break the bank or ruin your good time; check them out I'm sure you'll love them!

Good Decision, Bad Decision.

Posted 1 Jul 2014 by Sarah

 

I can think of many ways in which you can make your university experience a memorable one. University life allows you to become more mature, For example; to make decisions about your career. For instance, the field that you want to specialise in, the kind of companies that you would like to apply to, to gain that valuable experience that every employer is looking for. You can also meet with new people, learn about new cultures, and discover a new way of life as well as allowing you to re-discover yourself!!! University life gives you an opportunity to live the last of your free days. After graduation you are more likely to fall into the trap of thinking that it's the end of life (which it isn't, you can choose to further develop your understanding of life, to learn new skills, to pursue the life that you always wanted!!)

On the other hand, I can also think of many ways in which you can NOT make the most of university life. For instance, you might spend most of your time roaming the streets of Kingston without bothering to locate the whereabouts of the LRCs on various campuses. You may also decide to enlighten yourself with different ways in which you can lose your senses (partying and what not). You may, on a very crazy day, decide that revising for your exams is something only geeks do and not something which we all need to achieve a higher degree. Taking a year out to undertake work placement might seem like a ridiculous idea to some of us (despite the fact that this is something which will help you develop your skills further and gain valuable experience)

I am certain there are many immensely ridiculous things that students can do to waste their valuable time however my advice is to follow the future that you envisaged when you applied for university. For most of us it was NOT to waste £9000 that we pay every year for our tuition fee but to learn something and to achieve a degree which will help us pursue the career that we always wanted.

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