Turning 21

Today’s the day!

I am 21 and officially an adult globally. It’s amazing how as you get older birthdays because less and less of an important thing; yet there are still a few important birthdays in the world. Turning 21 is one of them.

For me being 21 hasn’t changed much. Its been a great opportunity to clean up my life and cut out bits that have been keeping me down. Its also a great opportunity to refresh you goals and lifestyle choices and has been a great chance for me to do this.

For me turning 21 has been a quiet affair, i’ve never been one for parties or nights out drinking. Its started with a wake up call and song from my little sisters and gifts from them and my parents. I’ve been out to buy a new outfit before a trip out for lunch with my parents.

Spending the evening with tea and cake working my way through my dissertation and just chilling…

I’ve enjoyed my day and the symbolistic meaning behind it. I’m enjoying the year to come and the hard work and achievements that will come for it.

Here’s to 21!

 

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10 Misconceptions about University

  • You spend every night partying – This is so not the case; there’s just too much work to do and not enough time to party every night. Especially during second and third year. I’m not saying there is not alot of hard partying… i have friends who can’t remember the whole of first year freshers’ week.

 

  • Graduates don’t get employed – Graduate employment is improving so there is no suggestion of being unemployed following uni… most unemployed graduates are unemployed because they don’t know what they want to do with their degree.

 

  • First Year doesn’t Count – Not True! Although  for some degrees the grades may not count. The information and skills you learn are often vital to succeeding in second and third year. Also your attendance is also important in first year; if your on the edge of a degree boundary your attendance can be used as a consideration if you appeal your grade.

 

  • You don’t need to attend every lecture – Now I’ve made appoint about attendance about. But some people feel they don’t need to attend every lecture because all the information is on the powerpoints. Wrong! I’ve recently finished a module which has low attendance, the teacher gave hints about which topics would be in questions and this wasn’t on the slides.. this meant people who attended new much more about the exam and did much better.

 

  • You can’t have a job if you want a first class degree – this ones debatable… i have friends that don’t work and will often be done with coursework miles ahead of time.. but i think it is definitely possible to get a first whilst working. Its all about how hard you work and how well you manage your time.

 

  • Student halls are gross – Student halls can be nicer than most houses or cheap flats that graduates end up moving into. Most universities will put money into their halls as they are a major attractive step in getting first year students.

 

  • You’ll live on pot noodles and baked beans – if you budget well enough and work hard you’ll be living a high life of amazing food, and the occasional McDonalds. If you take the time to cook you’ll be learning amazing new recipes in no time!

 

  • Professors are just teachers with specialisms – Most lecturers are actually researchers who have clauses in their contracts to teach. This means you need to remember they are taking time out of their actual work to teach you, and need to remember to thank them for their time… it also helps when they mark your coursework too!

 

  • You will never pay off your student loans – I don’t think its important to worry about this. You pay 9% of your annual income over £21,000 so thats as little as £64 a year. Your repayments also stop 30 years after your graduation, so don’t worry about it, there is no need to worry about it, worry about studying whilst you can.

 

  • You need to know what career you want when starting university – Knowing an area your interested in is important before uni, or you are essentially picking the wrong degree for you. Most people discover their niche and career path whilst at uni and usually by complete accident. Though having a plan is definitely not a bad thing, its a great motivational goal and decision maker during difficult decisions.

 

 

Breakdowns and Mechanical Issues

This last two weeks have been mentally draining; I’ve had mental breakdowns and car breakdowns. What was a quiet few weeks as cululated into a chaotic week; I’m thankful i’ve finally gotten my car back, this week has shown me just how dependant i am on the poor little thing in order to live my life.

A new gear box, clutch, break pads and tires later i am back on the road, and extremely poor again… yay! Alas the time alone at home with just Casper to keep me company has given me chance to recover from my epic emotional breakdown which involved a full three hours of tears and self doubt.

I think everyone goes through emotional peaks and troughs, and i had reached that peak just as my car broke and it kind of set everything off. I was talking about it to my friend Lucy and she agrees… you can identify a females emotional status by the effort they put into their everyday outfit. It might be a simple look, and it might not even contain any make up at all; but that outfit and the confidence that accompanies it can show exactly how emotionally secure and happy we are. Maybe we need to teach this to our boyfriends… they might learn something from it… when to backdown in an argument especially!

Alas, i am finally firmly back on track! My blog is back on schedule, i am (almost!) back on top of all the university coursework. I’m motivated, dedicated and content with life. Planning the future positively not necessarily… and not breaking down in tears because theres no milk. Thats always a bonus!

Cancer Biology: Mixing Masters and Undergrads

My second semester module is Cancer Biology. Its an intriguing module that is intense and interesting all in one go. The module is also different in its formatting; combining masters and undergraduate students together to form a large mixed ability lecture hall.

As an undergraduate in this class i have mixed feelings about this, my main one being the lecture content. The lecture content is often at masters level, and despite being in third year, will still contain information we have yet to learn or be introduced too. Especially for me considering that I’ve had a minimal introduction to cancer biology, when the lecture assumes the basic knowledge the undergraduates don’t have yet we get confused and lost quickly.

It can have its bonuses, the work is hard but interesting and you often get all the information to form the complete picture rather than the select things given in most of my third year modules. Its also mainly coursework based which lowers my work load in April and May.

Considering I’ve only had two lectures i am yet to have a solid opinion on the module. I am hoping that the detail required will not overwhelm me and mixing master students and undergraduates will not effect me negatively.

 

Baking with Basics: Cinnamon and Lemon Cookies

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There is nothing worse then waking up with no money and no food in the house. Being brought up by chefs I’ve often been able to scrape up a meal from nothing, and this recipe is no different.

This cinnamon cookie recipe was created from the bare basics in my cupboard and decorated with  a lemon drizzle and a little honey as it was what was in my kitchen.

Its a recipe that is easy to mould to what you have in the bare cupboards as long as the butter and sugar is in ratio and you have enough flour to form a dough. Enjoy my recipe, i hope it cheers you up as much as it cheered me up when i was desperately looking for some tasty treats.


Cinnamon Cookies with a Lemon Drizzle:

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Ingredients

  • 150g Icing Sugar
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2/3 cup of butter
  • 2/3 cup of sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups of flour
  • 1tsp cinnamon
  • Honey for drizzle

 

Method

1. Cream together the butter and sugar until pale and smooth. Add the cinnamon and mix together until completely spread and combined.

2. Add flour tablespoon by tablespoon until the mixture becomes a firm dough.

3. Divide into walnut size balls before placing on a floured baking tray and squashing down with two fingers. Bake at 180c for 25 minutes or until golden brown.

4. Juice 1 lemon and combine with icing sugar bit by bit until a thick water icing is created. You may need less icing sugar then you think dependant on the amount of juice you get from the lemon.

5. Once the biscuits are cooled drizzle liberally with lemon drizzle before adding a honey drizzle over the top. Place in the fridge until icing is solid.

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The Waiting Game

The hardest thing about university, masters and job applications is the waiting game. The application is in, the interview done and now you have to sit back and repeatedly refresh your emails until that offer comes in.

You need to think positive, you are waiting for an offer, not a rejection. Its thinking like this that will get you through those weeks of waiting. I have some advice from my past applications and the current one I am waiting on about how to get through the application waiting game with your sanity intact.


1. Stop refreshing your emails – its not going to make time fly any faster… its only going to drive you more and more insane. Most phones can automatically refresh and don’t need you to remind them to look for email, you’ll know when it comes in.

2. Check last years forums – Not in the way you think. Have a skim, and I mean skim, to find the when after interview offers were made. Its not an exact science but it will narrow down the time frame you then have to be sat at your computer waiting

3. Do something productive – get some more experience, do some volunteering, even start a new hobby! Just do something to fill in any of that spare time and get your mind off it. Its the best thing to do whilst you wait and even helps you get prepared for another application round if at first you don’t succeed.

4. Don’t constantly email – if you’ve been given a time frame thats your time frame. Theres no point in annoying the administration staff to try and get a more specific date. If anything it could unnecessarily spotlight you, and not always in a good way. Feel free to email after the deadline they have given is passed if you are that worried, I would wait a day or two just in case they are running late before making any rash judgements.

Hopefully this advice will give you some ideas about how to conquer the waiting game nerves. Hopefully everyones applications will go smoothly and everyone will get into the courses and careers they want.

Why do i commute?

There is definitely an art to commuting, whether it is for work or Uni. Its unpredicatable and constantly changing. Its definitely something thats hard to do as a student, your 9am lectures mean you share the train with corporate commuters and late nights in the library have to revolve around train times.

I commute because its saves me money vs. living in London. It also allows me to be at home with my sisters plenty often. The last few years have taught me a few tips on commuting. The first being the importance of a railcard; it saves me so much money i definitely couldn’t afford to commute and have fun if i didn’t do both.

I also travel off peak at every chance i get, further discounts and the trains are quieter meaning i get the chance to sit on a seat and do some studying.

There are also a large number of downsides to commuting; the travelling takes just over an hour which means 9am lectures results in 7;30am trains which hurts on a Monday morning. Commuting makes it hard to keep up with friends or having to plan travel times when discussing meeting up.

People ask me a lot why i commute to London for uni; it’s definitely a personal opinion and doesn’t suit everyone. I decided to do it because of money mainly; there was no way i would have been able to afford to live in London and the age of my sisters meant i wanted to spend as much time as possible with them. Its not something i regret, I’m not much of one for the university nights out and i could never understand the thrill behind it. So commuting meant i could stay in a familiar environment whilst developing myself into someone who is not to scared to leave her normal environment.

Recovering from Rejection

Going through life you are going to meet a lot of rejection. Its how you handle this rejection that determines how you grow and how you succeed. As the results of my graduate applications begin to trickle in, its about time to start preparing for rejection and how i plan to grow from it.

“Every time I thought I was being rejected from something good, I was actually being re-directed to something better.” – Steve Maraboli

The initial stab of rejection is hard, the first thing you need to do is take a deep breath. Except those painful feelings and then  breathe them out; removing them from your thoughts and feelings. For me, the hardest element of rejection is if your not expecting it because you are unable to prepare for those feelings.

The next stage to recovering from rejection is to figure out what possibly went wrong. Its not always possible to get the reasons someone said no to your applications, so you need to have the ability to look back objectively and read around for others who have been rejected and why they think they were.

Finally, you need to decided how you are going to improve yourself for the next time. If your missing some work experience, find some intimate for the next application. If its your entry test, spend more time prepping for the next round.

If you don’t improve after the rejection, your not going to change and you are not going to have that success and growth. With everything crossed that i get accepted to at least one of my applications because i really love it. Alas, what comes will come.

 

Blind Date with a Book

  • Kleptomaniac
  • Cunning Heroine
  • Suspense
  • Thriller
  • England

That was all i got when i picked my recent book, via Blind Date with a Book. This book turned out to be Marnie by Winston Graham.

Winston Graham is also the author of the famous Poldark series, and Marnie was no less of a hit, becoming a Hitchcock classic in the 60’s.  The book is an incredibly well written psychological thriller; the writing allows you into the mind and motivations of a con artist, feeling the suspense of waiting to get caught.

I enjoyed the book, but i loved the concept behind the blind date. It was a book i was unlikely to pick up based on the cover and blurb, and a genre i do not usually delve into. However, it has kept me warm on these cold, dark winter evening and i would definitely try the process again if i ever hit a what book to pick wall.


Rating…

I rate my books in the best way i know how; the number of cups of tea its worth. A book i love to read my sat on the sofa, the train or in bed with my favourite cup of tea; so i felt it was the perfect way to express my love for the books i read. Between 1-3 cups, 3 being the best.

This book was rated:

2 T's

I rated it two cups because i enjoyed the overall theme behind the book. However, it was obvious to me that its a 50 year old book, because the plot is antiquated. I would still recommend the book however for psychological thrill seekers and people interested in the 60’s era.