So we've just reached the end of the third week of the semester, and it's already flying by! It's hard to think back to the summer, all I was doing was going to work a few days a week, and seeing friends, but now the days are whizzing past in the blink of an eye. However, apart from wondering we're the last two weeks have gone, I have been doing a lot of interesting things since my final year started.
Firstly, I received an email asking me to apply to become an Academic Advisor at the Business and Law Academic Skills Centre (BLASC Desk). This is open during weekdays in the Nightingale Centre (library!) on Kingston Hill Campus, and all Business and/or Law students are able to use it to help them with their spelling, grammar or overall structure of their assignments. Admittedly, I'm a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to putting commas in the correct places, so I was really happy to be offered this opportunity.
Almost straight after my BLASC training, I attended the Student Ambassador Refresher, which is where all the Student Ambassadors get together to learn more about where the scheme sits in the University hierarchy, and who the staff are. It was a fun day, especially meeting some of the new Ambassadors that I hadn't worked with before, and learning more about the staff's roles.
Also during that week, I had the privilege of going to see Sir Trevor McDonald talk about some his experiences, namely in the Middle East. Ignoring the rather annoying technical fault with the microphone, it was a very inspirational speech, and was surreal being in the same room as someone as famous as him!
Two weeks ago, I helped out on the penultimate LoveKU Open Day event at Kingston Hill campus. It was great to meet lots of aspiring students that want to further their education. Obviously the early morning (6am, I must exaggerate!) is a bit of a killer after a 9am start on a Friday, but it was nice to meet the prospective students and answer any of their questions. I'm also helping at the final LoveKU Open Day tomorrow (Saturday 12th October), which, when this is published, will have already happened!
So, if any of you prospective students have any questions, I will try my best to answer them, and hope that helps you when making your decisions about where to go to University.
I hope those of you who have started university have settled in well and are happy with the choice you made! I started university again two weeks ago and that means I am now in my final year. The last two years of my course were fairly easy so I was looking forward to a challenge but I was also a bit apprehensive. It turns out the final year really is another step up from what I have been doing before. So far I've been so busy with assignments, note-taking and reading, especially for my dissertation. However, if any of you (relax, you have time, but it makes sense to think about it sooner rather than later) are thinking about doing a dissertation than I really recommend taking that step! I'll explain what it is and why it's worth it.
A dissertation (or "disso", as lecturers and students like to call it) is basically a long, very specific essay. Researching and writing a dissertation (10,000-12,000 words in my case, other courses may have longer or shorter word count specifications) provides you with an opportunity to work independently on a topic that interests you and that you want to explore further. It is an effective way of learning how to research correctly, develop advanced intellectual skills such as evaluation, analysis and synthesis, as well as helping to improve your independence and time management skills. The question you choose to research can be very specific, as long as it deals with subject areas that you study, therefore it is a fantastic opportunity to write about something you love but haven't been able to cover in class in that detail. I am studying Business and Law, so I had to choose something that dealt with either one or the other. As I am aiming to study fashion strategy for my master's degree once I graduate, I decided to write my disso on branding strategy in the luxury fashion industry (basically finding out what makes people want to buy a Prada bag and what will make them want to buy it in future).
As you can see it is an opportunity to go crazy and pick something really unique. But don't worry, you are not completely on your own. For the first weeks of the module, you will have lectures that aim to help you learn or refresh basic skills such as critical reading, referencing and essay structuring. In addition, the university provides you with a supervisor, an expert in the field that you are writing about, whose knowledge and guidance will be available to you throughout the module. It is a large piece of work, but you have a quite a while to finish it (mine is due in March). Furthermore, it is a good way of showing employers your strengths and interest in a certain area. A well-written dissertation can be a great "foot in the door" for interviews to a job!
A lot of you have probably been drawn to your course at Kingston because of the fantastic study abroad opportunities it has. From America to Australia, Switzerland to Sweden, there are plenty of destinations to choose from so you should definitely take advantage of it.
Returning from my study abroad semester at Bond University in Australia, I definitely had more of a culture shock coming back to the UK than when I first arrived in the land of BBQ's and beaches. It was a foreign land and although I had travelled a lot before, nothing could prepare me for such a HUGE country where life ran so much slower than here in the UK. The buses were A LOT less frequent, I had a lot less time in lectures and seminars and everyone generally had a lot more down time to relax and chill out. This, of course, was AMAZING. I couldn't have asked for a better destination; who doesn't want to write their essays lying by the pool or having a BBQ a day during orientation week?
International students are always given really good orientations into University life, studying abroad, local culture etc so make sure you go to everything. You will be able to meet LOTS of new people and these are likely to be your bestest friends throughout your whole experience, and probably for the rest of your life. Make sure you also take advantage of travelling in your free time; although I should probably say to study your utmost hardest and read lots of books, I think it's just as important to get a social and cultural experience from it. Especially around Bond University in Australia, there is so much within easy travelling distance. It is a huge country, but intercity travel is great and you can make lots and lots of weekend trips like the great barrier reef, famous beaches, zoo's, theme parks, deserts, waterfalls and rainforests.
I won't lie but it's incredibly difficult coming back to the UK. You just need to get back into the routine you were used to, embrace your time at Kingston and save, save, save so you can book another trip away!