It is hard to believe I became a Kingston University student nearly three years ago in the autumn of 2010 and now I have less than two weeks until it is all over. So much has been learned, so much has been achieved and so much more to discover on this journey. I find myself making the time to stay up late and work on final essays and stories for The River newspaper...it can be quite stressful if you don't have plenty of rest or plenty of water. When you're a student working part time you need to remember that you are only human and need to look after yourself properly...we cannot live off a can of Red Bull and a packet of crisps. I often think I can last for hours on end just working till late. The other night I worked from 8pm all the way to 6am that morning, which I don't recommend doing. I have to realise that I need to space out my assignments and make sure I don't work odd hours again. It can be so tempting as a final year student to just forget about sleep and to wing it on the spot. Regardless of what year you are in, never try to alter your daily routine as it will train your body to wake up at odd hours to be sleeping when you should be up.
Although pulling some of those all-night study sessions got a lot of work done for me, it wasn't good afterwards to be half awake for class. Some tips I have for current and non-current university students is to
A). Drink plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated
B).Go to bed at a decent hour, not at 5am and
C). To space out your workload and to set a deadline of when it should be completed by. Spring break and Reading week isn't just for sleeping in and taking trips to Ibiza, it means you have to devote some time and care to your coursework. Unfortunately I was so caught up with the Easter holiday and the TV that I didn't even start some of the assignments I needed to. This time I realise I have deadlines in mid-May approaching so I must carry through and not let anything distract me...not even Facebook!
Fortunately I am almost done with my projects, it took some time and some late nights but I have nearly caught up with everything. The fortunate thing about being a Journalism student is that you have more coursework than exams, so make sure to utilise your time early on to avoid rushing through everything at the last minute. I understand it can be difficult if you happen to have a part time job and wanted to use the holiday break to make some extra money. We are students and we always need money. There also comes a time when you must weigh up your options and see if it is worth it? I don't think I could have concentrated if I worked at the university shop part time over break, there was so much to do and time goes by so quickly. Make sure you can divide the time between your university work and your private life. Don't try to put it off till the last minute...as it won't solve the problem of getting your work done quicker.
The best advice I can give is to stop going on Facebook if possible and to spend more time in the library on campus. We have the rest of our lives to play on Facebook and to watch countless hours of TV so when it comes to your educations make your parents proud in knowing that their son or daughter is making the most of their investment on their future. We are the next generation to make our way with our chosen career path...so lets make it count!
Well, this is second blog since I did my first blog for Ask Us in 2011! I've been so busy with Uni, my new business and I've got a 10 month old niece who takes up most of my time now.
I have also started my own Hosting and Web designer company with the skills that I have learnt on my course, on the business modules. I had a lot of support from my lecturers when I started up the company. They have given me advice on what to do and how to run the company, which is now up and running.
I have also been doing a little bit of teaching for a society called the 'Computer Geeks Society;' I have to teach a course called Microsoft Windows Server 2008. I had to teach this to about 200 students this year which was great fun and I have learned how to talk in front of big groups which I have never done before!
So as you can tell I have been very busy this past year. If you have any questions about my current course I am happy to answer them.
As I wait for my last ever student loan instalment to come through (boo hiss sob!) I have decided to dedicate this blog to the all-important issue of money...
Being a student is expensive! It costs £11,000 a year (on average) and most of this will go towards fees and rent. BUT there are ways you can plan your spending in order to have some left over for the fun stuff that comes with the student life. Read on for my top tips:
1. Put pen to paper and make a budget
It sounds really simple and boring, but you'd be surprised at how easy it is to see where you're overspending and where you can cut back if you do this. Start with a sheet divided into two sections headed Income and Expenses and write down all of your sources of money and all the things you expect to have to spend money on. Remember to include all the essentials like rent, food, laundry or stationary, alongside the non-essentials such as nights out and birthday presents. The main thing to remember is to only spend what you have! If you don't have enough money to cover your costs, then it might be worth considering a part-time job (see below).
My best advice in terms of cutting down on spending is taking your own lunch and teabags/coffee/hot chocolate to uni. Think about it- a cup of hot chocolate costs roughly £1.20 on campus, but a cup of boiling water only costs 20p. This could save you £5 per week, £20 per month etc!
2. Organise your income
It can be a good idea to put the money to cover your rent or hall fees into a separate account that you don't touch on a day-to-day basis (meaning you won't spend it all before you've paid for your accommodation). That way you know how much you have left to spend for other things during the remainder of the term.
3. Maximise your income- get a job
Four out of ten students have a job while they study. But remember to balance this with your studies (you are here to get a good degree after all!) It's recommended you work less than 15 hours a week in term time. Full-time work in the holidays can be tax-free and good for your CV as well as your bank balance. It's a good idea to look for jobs on campus as the hours are usually more student friendly. Also, think about what you would enjoy doing. If you enjoy partying become a club promoter, if you love shopping in a certain place work there for staff discount, and the list goes on.
4. Get help from uni
Kingston has a specific money advising office, so take advantage of them when you come here. The advice will be free and they can help you manage your money better. You can ask about free student banking, overdraft interest rates and charges and any student bursaries/scholarships they offer.
5. Get a discount
All I can say is GET AN NUS CARD! And ask for student discount everywhere, after all, if you don't ask you don't get.
6. Sell, sell, sell
Get rid of those unwanted textbooks, clothes etc and make money from them! Use websites like Amazon, eBay and Facebook. I've used Facebook many a time to sell the hundreds of textbooks you end up buying as a Law student. My friends make fun of my ‘haggling' statuses, but it makes me happy to help another student save and make some money for myself.
7. Keep tabs on your spending and be cash happy
Bank online and check your account regularly. Also, take out cash from the cash machine for the day/couple of days/week and spend this only! As it can be all too easy to overspend when you use a card and think your money is endless. This is especially useful when you go for nights out, trust me.
8. Try not to panic and enjoy yourself!
We all know money is a stressful issue whilst a student, but try not to worry. As long as you are sensible and plan your spending, there's no reason why you shouldn't be able to have fun and make the most of the student life.
Hope this has helped, bye until next time!