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Money, Money, Money...

Posted 15 Apr 2014 by Molly

 

Although it's third year and probably not the best time, I've recently got into mini-breaks (I like calling them mini- breaks, as it makes them sound a lot more extravagant than they really are). Third year has been - as expected - more stressful than my other two years, and to get through this I have started using my money on Megabus tickets to various places in the UK. This weekend I am going to Scotlaaaaand! Oh and also I recently bought an accordion. And a festival ticket. I think you can probably see where this is going- I haven't really got much money left.

Money is often something that puts people off going to University, and with the rise in tuition fees it is easy to see why. However, it is perfectly doable. Loans and maintenance grants ensure that if you come from a low income background, you won't be living on toast for a year. I am not the best with money. As soon as I get it I tend to just spend it on useless things and alcohol. I have really tried to budget this year- I even bought a book to write budget-y things in- but I haven't been overly successful. And I have also lost the book. No matter though, because though I am hopeless at this kind of thing, I have learnt from my mistakes that there are things you can do (aside from getting a job):

- Pay all your rent as soon as you get your loan in. Just pay as many months in advance as possible. Same for your books- just buy them all at once as soon as you know what you need.

- Sainsbury's basics Vodka has seen me through many nights. And boxes of wine.

- Put money aside for bills. Open a savings account, and then put however much you think the bills will be in there.

- Buy a book to budget in (and don't lose it.)

- Buy all the tinned tomatoes you can carry. Honestly they have saved my life this year.

- Get a Waitrose loyalty card. I don't shop there but you get a free tea or coffee EVERYDAY.

- Become best pals with Lidl.

- Go to the market in Kingston town centre to get your fruit and vegetables- it's really cheap, nicer than in supermarkets and kinder to the world.

- Megabus is better than trains.

- Charity shops have the most amazing stuff if you're willing to search around a bit.

- Try not to have the heating on all the time. Gas is so expensive. We managed it in my house this year, and even though I had to wear gloves while typing essays, it was worth it for how much money we saved.

Give these things a go and hopefully you will save money! If you are struggling there are people that can help. You can go and talk to your bank and maybe get an overdraft to use in times of emergency.  The Student Life Centre at Kingston Uni is also really good when it comes to helping you budget and sort out your money troubles. I will leave the link for them here:

 http://www.kingston.ac.uk/money-matters/student-funding-service/

Try not to let the thought of having no money dissuade you from giving uni a go. Although it isn't always easy, I reckon it's worth it. Oh and in defence of spending money on an accordion, it was second hand and therefore not too expensive. I think it was worth every penny though I am unsure if my flatmates agree.

Notetaking for the Newbies

Posted 14 Apr 2014 by Sarah

 

My sister has finished her first year at Kingston University, Yaaay!!! I am so proud of her! She is now in her second year and she has been asking me for note taking techniques which can help her succeed in her second year. Well no worries, I was in the same situation when I first joined Uni but now as I have finished my second year I have improved my note taking skills. I am sure there may be a few of you that might find this blog useful. So I decided to post something that might help a lot of you as well as my lovely sister. The following simple steps can help you improve your grades!!!

Before lecture:

As you all know that most lecturers use PowerPoint for their lectures. I don't rely on these slides as they don't give me all the information about that particular topic so I read the lecture slides before going to lecture and also listen to my tutor during the class. This way I know what the topic is about and if I didn't understand something about the topic then it allows me to prepare questions that I can ask during lecture.

During lectures:

I don't copy every word said by the lecturer however I do take note of any example used by the lecturer that improves my understanding for that particular topic. Use of abbreviations helps a lot while taking notes as you might not have enough time to write every word said by your lecturer. I always use different colours of pen. Some people might find this childish but it works for me. Also, some people use mind maps or spider diagram. However, I prefer to use bullet points. I do use mind maps when preparing for exams as it allows me to summarise a topic in few words and it gives me a clear picture.  

After lecture:

Why not check your notes with your friends. This has always allowed me to add any information to my notes that I have not included. It also gives me the opportunity to discuss and understand the topic much better.

I hope this is not too much but trust me it does work.

 

Monday - 7 April

Today was a trip to the town centre on a mission! I'm taking part in a candy swap with a friend from the US and wanted to find some of the UK's finest. It was off to Charlie's old fashion sweet shop for all of these!

Some sweets for my friend in the USA

Tuesday - 8 April

It was free cone day at Ben and Jerry's here's my cookies and cream cone from the cinema in town!

Free cone day!

Wednesday - 9 April

After another walk into town today along the river I noticed that Kingston has a love for Italian food! I'm hoping to try some of the restaurants before I go home for the summer holidays.

Some restaurants to try...

Thursday - 10 April

Homeward bound! Thankfully mum gave me a lift home this time, I'm glad I didn't have to lug my suitcase up the station stairs! Next stop, sleep and homemade food!

Homeward bound!

Friday - 11 April

One of the adorable little cupcakes made by my Mum and sister for when I came home. It went down well with a nice cup of tea this afternoon.

A lovely treat from my Mum and sister

Saturday - 12 April

Today I was reunited with my boyfriend's cat Suki. Although she wouldn't stay still for pictures I did get a few cuddles which were rewarded with some treats.

Suki the cat

Sunday - 13 April

The countdown to a chocoholic's favourite time of year. With one week to go until Easter Sunday poor Harry Hopalot has had his ears nibbled off while I was tidying today...Oops!

Harry Hopalot

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