I love heading into London for the day to suck up a bit of the culture. My first port of call is always The Tate Modern as there are usually fantastic exhibitions to see as well as the free sections. Other good art museums in London include The Saatchi Gallery, The Photographers Gallery and the Tate Britain.
If you're not familiar with the famous skyline, then take it all in from the highest building in Europe; the top floor of the Shard. The breath-taking views don't come cheap but there are free alternatives all over the capital such as Primrose Hill.
There are loads of gigs both for free, and at a low cost. I check online regularly with my favourite haunts such as Koko in Camden for the more well-known names, and The Old Blue Last in Shoreditch, for free gigs nearly every night of the week!
Kingston is good for shopping, but London is even better! I enjoy going into central London, to Westfield shopping Centre, or Oxford Street - the stores are huge and even if you can't buy anything, it's a fun day out!
When my student's budget will allow it I love to go to restaurants. There are loads of places to discover and it's best to find them for yourself because there is so much choice from fine dining to authentic street food.
In the centre of the City, in Trafalgar Square, every Saturday you're guaranteed to find a group of protesters and various other entertainment. I love walking by and sometimes popping into the National Portrait Gallery, where most, although not all exhibitions are free.
Even though I can't afford anything, I love looking around anyway. The shop is for billionaires and millionaires but still has some high street and affordable brands, including high fashion brands like Chanel. I love just looking and imaging what I would buy if money grew on trees.
In the central of London and most of the exhibitions are free. One of my favourite museums, with so much to look at and do. It's just opposite the natural history museum in south Kensington which is also free!
Me and cousins this summer spent the whole hour going around in circles. I've taken the boats out here a few times because it's so much fun, I'm getting better each time and already looking forward to doing it again when the weather warms up.
This massive mirror is just next to Waterloo station. My favourite thing to do in London or any city. I love taking my camera and walking around the city on a Saturday.
Over the last couple of weeks I have found myself thinking about final year and I wouldn't say I was nervous, just a little apprehensive! It's the pressure of making the grades I don't like - it's the most important year and holds the majority of your final degree grade so I believe being prepared is crucial and I have started planning for my final year already!
With all of this in mind, I have decided to interview a recent graduate from Kingston University and share with you their experiences of final year including hints and tips on what they might have done differently, and how they think we can make the most of our final year and (most importantly) succeed!!
Name - Daniel Manley
Age - 24
Course - Web Development with Business
Did you do much preparation for final year?
Over the course of my degree I had been creating a portfolio of work ready for leaving university, from this portfolio of work I had a client who was happy for me to re-design their website for my project and so this reduced the preparation required for my project proposal! Going into final year with an established idea for your final year project will help enormously, the more you can work on this in summer the better! In regards to other modules I did no preparation, but if you enjoy reading, you could always hunt down the reading list, and start reading the module books early and build a solid base of knowledge.
Did you like the new module layout or would you have preferred the previous 8 module set up?
I wouldn't say I had a preference either way, it was annoying that the layout changed half way through my degree, but only having to focus on 4 core modules over the year had its advantages
Do you have any plans for the future?
Yes, as well as final year to take on, it's vital to think about the future too. I saw university and a degree as a stepping stone towards finding the job I wanted and so have dedicated quite a lot of time towards looking and applying for jobs over the last year. I was lucky enough to walk straight into a job on leaving university, which I think is probably quite uncommon, but I do think you need to start at least thinking about where you want to be after university!
Okay, so when did you start applying?
I started looking around September time, so on my return to university after Summer
Would you say this was early enough?
The majority of the graduate schemes open around this time and it is good to apply for these as soon as you can. If you are unsure what you want to do, I'd suggest researching what's available over summer as this can take a lot of time and reduce your study time and also eat into your application time. Also, doing some research can unearth some businesses that you might not have heard of previously that could be worth an application. Personally, I am now working for a company I hadn't heard of previously, and it couldn't have worked out better. I'd say I'm now working in a dream area for me - Sports Media.
So, what are your main hints and tips to students?
Work hard, it won't just happen. I found the degree calculator (http://secwebapps.kingston.ac.uk/udcc/) extremely useful. It seems a lot of people aren't aware of the resources available to us at Kingston, so spend some time before returning to university learning what's available to us, and start using them to your advantage on return to university! For example the quieter computer rooms in the Sopwith building and being able to book rooms in the library for group work! Secondly, don't be afraid to ask, our lecturers are here to help, they want us to be successful, so if you are unsure about anything send them an email or pop down to their office hours! It's too late once the deadline has past, or when you're sat in an exam! Finally, as much as you can try to enjoy it, it will be hard at times but for most of us it's our last year of studying before entering the corporate world, and believe me, university is so much easier than work!
Also, I'd recommend working during your studies. It might seem difficult to find the time, but the money can come in really handy and prevent you from living off beans for the last few weeks before loan day. Working whilst at University can also help build your work history and experience, which can really help when it comes to applying for jobs once you've graduated.
What would you have done differently now, looking back?
I'd have started my Final Year Project earlier, and begun work on both the report and the code over summer. The literature review section of the project report takes a lot of research, so getting that done over summer would have freed up a lot of time which could have been spent improving the code elements, or building in extra features.
Finally, how are you feeling about results day?
I have my heart set on a first and so am pretty nervous. I was on track for a first but until I get my results I don't think I'll believe it, and even if I do achieve it, it'll still feel pretty surreal.
Well I wish Daniel the best of luck of results and thank you for the interview, as well as good luck to any readers who are facing their final year with me!
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