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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!

 

Monday - 12 May

Starting the week smiling. After working today, I slipped into my smiley Doc Martens. It's supposed to get warmer towards the end of the week so I'm making the most of my smiley boots.

My Doc Martens brighten my day!

Tuesday - 13 May

Today has been pretty quiet so I wanted to show you guys how awesome it can be living 20 minutes away from central London! This is a picture from back in February when I met one of my idols, Tay Jardine, from 'We Are The In Crowd'. This is the picture from Koko in Camden, but I also met her the day before in Kingston at a show!

Wednesday - 14 May

The second day of vocal recording in the Kingston Hill recording studios. It was a long day but I can proudly announce that one track is nearly done!

Tay JardineOne track done!

Thursday - 15 May

I was so glad to get these out again today! Who needs to go abroad when you have the Kingston sunshine!

My Sunny G's!

Friday - 16 May

The band and I headed down to a local pub, Bar 88, for it's weekly open mic night.We got involved and the floor quickly filled! We did a great job if the audience reaction is anything to go by! It was so fun to go on a night out with the boys!

A great night with my band

Saturday - 17 May

Up reasonably early and back into the recording studios, another song down! Two more to go!

Sunday - 18 May

As the sun was shining I thought I'd make the most of it and take an early trip to Starbucks in Surbiton. Even though I ended up apparently reading yesterday's newspaper, it was nice to get out of the flat.

Another day in the recording studioStarbucks

 

 

Keywords: student, budget. AKA: bottom of the food chain, broke. Let's face it, you can't afford to shop from M&S and Waitrose every single time. However, you don't want to be living on ASDA and Tesco's basics range products. The good news is that you can achieve a balance fairly easily. I will take you step by step on what sort of products you can find in shops around Surbiton, Kingston and Kingston Hill. 

TOP TIP - Get points cards for each of these shops! I have managed to accumulate around 15-20 pounds on each card over the last three years.

Market place

Take it from someone, who has lived her three years at university on fruit and veggies from the market place, this is the best place to go for those! Not only are fruit and vegetables incredibly cheap but they also are the real deal and you can avoid that plastic taste by buying from the market place, which is situated in the heart of Kingston. Make salads, soups, stir fries- it's all bound to taste good! Besides, you won't be breaking the bank. My top tip for shopping at the market place is to go towards the end of the day, when they tend to lower the prices of the produce; you will get more for your money then.

Sainsbury's

I have figured out that Sainsbury's is pretty good, if you are buying meat. Their frozen goods section is also pretty good. I recommend you buy milk and eggs from there as well as they are good quality and they come at reasonable prices. Ordinary things such as pasta and pasta sauce are also okay. There is a Sainsbury's in town (right next to Marks & Spencers, close to Boots) and another one in Surbiton.

M&S

Well, this one is self explanatory, really but I do recommend Marks and Spencers baked goods in particular. They are always fresh and there is nothing better than getting that hot loaf of warm bread as soon as it has come out of the oven. My top tip for there is to wait until they reduce the food in the evening because you will be able to get meals for at least two people for less than the price you will pay for yourself. You can find Marks and Spencer in Kingston next to Sainsbury's and there is also another one right next to the train station in Surbiton.

Waitrose

Yes, it is expensive but isn't it all so good? I recommend you don't buy your essentials from there as there is really no point. Go there for the things that bring out the taste in your food- e.g. stir fry sauces. You can also get a whole cooked chicken for around 5 pounds, which is pretty amazing. Hello, dinner with friends! If you are feeling particularly lazy, their pre-made meals are also really good. Waitrose is situated in John Lewis in Kingston (next to the Bentalls center) and there is also another one in Surbiton, close to the train station.

Tesco

I don't trust Tesco too much but I do sometimes find myself browsing their shelves. You can buy tins as well as pre-made meals, when they reduce them in the evening. Their Granny Smith's apples are to be trusted as well. There is a Tesco Express right next to the train station in Kingston.

Asda

Asda is good for all your tin goods, pizzas and cheese. You can get your spices from there as well and their meat selection is not bad either. There is an ASDA on the road to Kingston Hill and there is another one close to Roehampton Vale.

Lidl

I admit, Lidl is a bit odd. You can, however, find real gems in there! I usually stock up on coffee, chocolate, Greek cheese and olives whenever I pass. Lidl is situated in the passage way next to McDonald's in Kingston.

Hope that helped!

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