Fresher’s Fortnight Drink or WIN? – First Nights Out

Going out to parties and nights on the town are a part of many student’s experiences. Some planned their student life around these (un)forgettable adventures, whilst others would use them as an excuse to celebrate or let off steam after a time of stress. Whatever your reason and format of going crazy to music and fun, here are a few life rules I picked up during my years of evening antics!

DO: Budget Beforehand

So this one sounds a little killjoy out of the bat, but it’s also the easiest and one of the costliest (see what I did there?) mistake to make. Now you don’t need to make a spreadsheet about it, but work out your basics for the night and use this to decide:

  1. If you can afford to go out in the first place
  2. How much you’ll need for overheads (transport there/back, entrance fees etc).
  3. How much you’ll have leftover to spend.

To touch on a couple of these – when researching any nights out (depending on if you were given a ‘tour of the town’ by your student union, sports team, fresher parent, warden or friends with knowledge of the area), check for entry fees on flyers, social media or on the windows/boards of the venue. For most student places this shouldn’t be that expensive, but in bigger cities, it’s easy to get caught out if you didn’t bring a lot of money. Secondly, there may be extras you may later decide to drop money on too, such as gambling machines, toilet assistants and the all important post clubbing food. Figure out a ballpark at the beginning and any panic of this goes away on the night and any worry you might be in for a shock the next day will probably not happen. Also, super important one unless you’re rolling in the dough – don’t take your credit card and turn off your mobile payments! Sure you’ll pay it back on time, but given the only thing stopping you is your spending limit, this card becomes even more dangerous if you’re under the influence, especially if it’s NFC based like contactless cards and Apple/Google/Samsung Pay – the limits may be low in your currency, but they don’t stop you making multiple payments!!

DON’T: Feel Pressured

Night events are all about having fun, that includes you. If you don’t think you’ll enjoy something like drinking or certain activities then simply don’t do it. After all an event is what you make of it – so if you can have fun without doing anything you don’t want, then it will be fun. And if you prefer having a few drinks to liven things up, then within reason go nuts.

DO: Go With Friends

Now this one does have a bit of a blurred line in your fresher’s introductory weeks when you might not no anybody – but few like to party alone, so throw caution to the wind and arrange some time to have fun with new found friends or housemates. If neither of those fit your bill, try and meet some new people during your classes and strike up conversations when you’re on the town in the early bars.

DON’T: Try To Be ‘Hard’

Sure, you might like to be the alpha male or leading lady in your newly formed circle, but that doesn’t mean you need to fight each other or be cocky with the bar staff, bouncers and hosts. Sure they are here to serve you and you’re paying money for them to, but it doesn’t mean you’re above them by any means. If anything on an evening it can be quite the opposite given they have allowed you into their home or establishment and taken the time to come over to you to serve you beverages or food. When feeling threatened or abused, staff normally have the right to refuse service, have you asked to or removed from the premises and even ban you from entering. From experience of working in bars, I know the UK has a scheme known as “Pub Watch” that venues can opt into where each one gets access to a walkie-talkie and a central base whom monitor the local community CCTV. Get barred or arrested from one of one of these participating venues and you’ll be put on the communities blacklist where you’re name and likeness will be passed onto other members and your presence watched that night on camera to ensure you won’t be let into other member venues, nor cause trouble on the streets surrounding without sufficient prosecution following.

DO: Take Care of Yourself

Once you’ve got the basics out of the way above it’s time to let loose, have fun and enjoy life in the moment! But when it’s all done you want to be able to get home safely, rest and be up and ready the next day without too much of a scratch on yourself. In order for that to happen though you should take a few precautions and put a few things in place. For a drinker that parties hard for example, I would suggest:

  • A 2L/70Oz Bottle or a large sports cup of water by your bedside or couch/sofa and optionally a painkiller for the next day.
  • At least one pint of water during the night to take off the edge a little
  • Not mixing medication or any form of drugs simultaneously with alcohol. At least a few hours between.
  • Some food if it’s been a while since your last meal.
  • Enough charge on your phone to last the night in case you need a way to get home.

Nights out and parties can be fun times and for those new to it can become an easy way to let of steam with some friends once you have a sense of your favourite venues and people’s characters. Keep prepared and respect everyone else and I’m sure you’ll come out with a great chance of a WIN.



Fresher’s Fortnight – A Guide to Clubs, Societies & Teams

So, Fresher’s fair either looms or has rolled around and for the latter that means you need to decide if you’re taking on that all important first meeting. For some, the extracurriculars become a part of their student life, for others it’s something they keep in touch with on occasion and for others it’s just not for them. Whilst all of which are perfectly valid to experience (and sometimes should be), here’s a guide to help you to expand on what I touched on in my previous article here.


Visit the Fair

If your university, student union or guild put on a gathering of clubs/societies/groups (depending on what your institution calls them) during fresher’s week, then it’s worth going to see the collection available to you at a glance, regardless of your year group. This will be one of few opportunities to compare interests, ask questions with members and organisers and for the larger groups a chance to get to know people on a one to one level before you commit your coin to them. If you need any more incentive, this is the haven of free stuff and competitions too (one fond memory was entering to win my height in pizza!)

Don’t Be Afraid to Try Something New (Or You’re Passionate About)

Clubs and Societies come in all shapes and sizes, from food appreciation to LARPing to religion, to crafts and performing arts to subject specific activities. If it sounds good, it’s worth saying hello and finding out more. Don’t forget that there’s no obligation to do anything you haven’t agreed to, so enjoy, discover and potentially meet some new friends and connections with the same interests as you.

But Don’t Sign Up For Everything

As exciting as it can be to take on everything you see, you’ll quickly find you won’t have as much time as you anticipated. I’ve found in experience it’s best doing the above and making a mental note of what interests you most and sign up to your picks of those. If it turns out you don’t like them, you can then always join the others.


If you’re unsure whether to join a team or a more committed club, see if they offer a social event such as a party, meal or night out. This way you can trial your time with the members before paying in any subscription that you may not have wanted to. These events are usually fun and informal to help you relax and feel welcomed by the members. Don’t forget they are human beings that just want to have fun just like yourself, so don’t be afraid to be friendly, ask questions and join in where appropriate. If it all goes well you’ll be off to a good start and making friends in no time.

Remember the Take Home

Whatever motivates you to join your society, you should be able to get out what you put into it and ensure you have something lasting from it once you graduate and join the ‘real world’. Be that something great to put on your CV/resume, physical items or future opportunities sprung out from it, trophies and medals from competitions, friends or venture partners or even just the great memories of it contributing to who you are now and how you’ve made your mark on the world. So choose carefully and pick something you know may make you proud to look back on.

Have you recently joined any societies? To the graduates and non-freshers? What are your favourite memories of first joining a society, club or team? Any horror stories (no personal names or attacks though!) Feel free to leave them down in the comments below.




Fresher’s Fortnight: 6 Essential Places to Get You Acquainted With Student Life

Let’s be honest, starting to look after yourself and potentially living away from parents can be a daunting thought. However, in the age of digital technology and where everyone seems to have information available at the touch of a button, it doesn’t have to be quite so bad! If you, like me, didn’t quite have independence in the house as much and you’re just starting out in looking after yourself, be you a fresher to uni itself or to being the “proper grown up”, here’s 6 fantastic resources to help you to step into those shoes and make yourself proud.


Your University or College App

This one probably sounds a little cliche, but these days most institutions will have their own app on iOS or Android, or a web application built into their site. These usually let you access timetables, reading guides such as LibGuides, the library catalogue, resource booking, possible access to an online learning environment and an online directory or webmail so you can get in touch with different tutors, lecturers, professors and support staff. Whilst it may seem a bit of a gimmick at first, in time you’ll find this may become your daily companion to allow you to get to what you need. Back when my university campus existed, we used a tool known as the Pocket Campus (which also existed as an intranet as well as kiosks and a pair of giant touchscreens in the reception) and gave invaluable access to things like booking studio time or finding out what the latest bulletins for the campus were.

How-To Videos

These days, it’s easy enough to learn any basic skills you might need such has how to cook something, how to change a component in your car or how to fit a new cylinder on your gas heater. Depending on what responsibilities you may have been given at home, you might find you’ve got some new ones in your new digs, from cleaning up the house to making your own food.

Sites such as Howcast, Instructables and Wikihow offer great step by step instructions and channels like SORTED Food and How To Adult on YouTube give you helpful tutorials in video form. If you’re stuck for motivation, there’s even channels for that too such as The Life Survival Guide series on WERK! TV (Devon Werkheiser, of Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide fame).

Discount Websites

Living like a student is a pricey business. Fortunately many companies feel your pain and like to display offers and discounts to students. Unfortunately, it can be hard to keep track of this without a fairly centralised experience. In the UK, sites such as NUS TOTUM (formerly Extra) offer a great directory for deals, especially for students. Internationally there’s also  Student Beans, UNiDAYS and the ISIC Card to take advantage of, with an array of benefits online and on their app! Sign up early to make the most of these throughout your time at uni. Amazon also advertise their Prime service at a discount too, provided you have a student address.

Access to tech and software from the likes of Adobe, Dell, Microsoft and HP is cheap too from their websites. On certain courses, access to software may be free courtesy of your institution through the Microsoft Student Partner Program found on the MSDN website.

Finally, don’t forget the generic discounts you can get from the likes of HotUKDeals, PRIORITY (offers and event tickets) on the O2 Mobile network or Wuntu on the Three mobile network.

Student Forums

If you’re starting afresh or just need to find some like-minded people to share the experience you’re all going though, student forums and groups are good good place to start. Many colleges across the world will have their own community forums or apps that will be advertised to you at application (possibly even part of the apps mentioned above!), on the website or emailed to you as part of a welcome pack. The Student Room is also a popular option in terms of a message board, whilst typing in virtually any university name into Facebook can pretty much guarantee a wealth of groups already existing. Not seen a Fresher’s group for you yet? Why not start one featuring your institution or campus name – don’t forget to set it to public so other new students can find and connect with you. If you prefer a more Tinder style approach to making new friends and meeting people, Friendsy is another option more focused to US students available for iOS or Android on the respective app stores.

Welcome Parties/Events

Given a number of you will have already started or will be beginning in the next couple of weeks, don’t forget to attend all the welcome events and socials occurring both as part of Fresher’s Week and in local bars, clubs, sports teams and organisations. These are crucial networking events on different levels to allow you to meet others in the same boat as you as well as veterans that can steer you in the right direction, and in the case of interest groups may be people who share your passions and/or interests, breaking a huge chunk of the ice to get you involved in conversations and activities to allow for that all important bonding where friendships and partnerships form. Not found a group you like? Similar to the online groups, why not open up your space for a party or a meal? Just ensure you follow your house or college/university guidelines to ensure you don’t get your new found friends on the wrong side of things, or that first impression might not go down so well!

Don’t Forget Your Old Friends!

Whilst it might seem a little backwards, especially if you’ve moved cities, states or even whole countries to get to your institution, but friends are friends and will always be there to give you the same form of advice. If anything, they may still be going through what you are at a different institution and may be able to offer advice on what has worked for them as well as you offer them in return. For those whose friends may be in different fields, they can provide you with that sense of grounding as you get used to a new life and will ensure you still have those people to see when you go back home or visit a place where they live and allow your friendship to grow with you and your life as you both/all learn to adult together.


For those who have been through it before, what was it like adjusting to student life for you? Do you maybe have any alternative advice? Feel free to share any stories and comments down below!




Fresher’s Fortnight – I Remember… Drinking Games

Apologies for the delay with this one! But here is my brief account on a few popular and favourite drinking games I had the fun of participating in during my undergraduate years at university:

Whilst this video is published for educational and anecdotal purposes,  please please please, remember to drink responsibly and to abide by your local laws on age and behaviour for your respective country. Alcohol can be fun in moderation and control, but always know your limits.

Now the serious stuff is said, do you have any favourite drinking games or funny stories surrounding them? Feel free to leave them in the comments below!



Fresher’s Fortnight: 5 Survival Kit Essentials

So, with your exams out the way, results sorted and car packed, you’re off to or have now arrived on campus. For those just starting uni, enjoy your welcome to the student life! However, before letting loose with your new found friends it pays to be prepared for unexpected surprises and issues during what for many of you will be your first dip of your toes into life in the ‘real world’. This is by no means exhaustive, but touches on some of the most popular ones that many find a lifesaver and some pick up as lessons learned.


Many Universities are known for the pastime of trying different ways to ‘medicate’, but the one form many forget when completing their shopping for food and supplies is medication. Now some people like myself might not be so keen on popping a pill at every off feeling they experience, but when you start to experience the effects of a sick room/floor/block mate in your accommodation, or a dodgy kebab and the mother of all hangovers from the night before, that little container of rounded miracle workers will become a lifesaver! Typical ones to keep in stock of are:

  • Painkillers like Paracetamol or Ibuprofen.
  • Diarrhoea Suppression Tablets
  • A stomach acid dissolver like Rennie
  • In the winter months a bottle of cough medicine
  • Anti-congestion creams like the famous Vick’s Vapo Rub
  • As much as reasonably possible of any prescription medication you take.

It’s also a good idea to have some small bandages or plasters on your person too, as first aid kits are often only found in the more public buildings and less so in residential buildings.When it comes to medication, remember to read the leaflet to make sure things like alcohol and other medications you might want to take won’t counteract or interact with each other and you know the correct dosage.

Emergency Cash

When you first get a grant or loan instalment, it can feel like you’re on top of the world and fresher’s week and returns to a new semester can be tempting to go out on the town and party hard, or shop till you drop or build up the biggest accumulator you can on game day. However, that money can run out fast and unless you have big saving, rich parents or a part time job, that money has to last you for another 14 weeks or so – so regardless of if you plan to budget it or just work out your spending plan carefully, it pays to keep a little bit of cash somewhere for a rainy day or if something happens. Keep it safe in your room, or in a savings account – just somewhere you can reach to fix any broken prized possessions (like a car or laptop), pay off any debt to the university or even simply to pay your bills should you overspend.

Identification & Paperwork

Living away from home for long periods of time means at some point you make have to use some form of identification (other than to enter late night bars). Documents such as passports, insurance policies, letters of confirmation from the university and any health records you may have are often useful in times of registration or crisis, so ensure to bring what you can with you and keep them safe.

If you have chronic condition or feel you might partake in an activity that involves a risk to your health (this includes being known for being quite the party animal), it’s worth making a card with some emergency contact details to keep safe for your friends in case they have to relay a message to your parents or partner should you go into hospital as well as help find any of the medication mentioned above if a situation occurs.

Storage Drive

This might seem a strange one for the kit, but considering our ever growing reliance on technology to complete homework assignments, essays, projects and research and more and sometimes as far as uploading and plagiarism checking online – that’s a lot of data to accidentally lose should there be a failure in the drive or the file you were working on gets corrupted. Always keep a secure backup of your personal files and uni work. There is nothing worse than being 1,000 words down at 2am the night before the deadline!


Whilst most of them come cheap, it pays to have a charger nearby for when your devices run out. In regards to older equipment, you want to ensure you can take your devices out and about or to lectures without the batteries dying partway through. if you have lots of similar looking chargers that have transformer bricks, remember to check your Voltage (measured as 12.3V) and Amps (12.3A or 123mA) on your devices roughly matches it.

and finally


Whilst it’s a new experience and a change to reinvent parts of yourself – in order to have a good experience of uni where you can choose between work and play balance, it’s important not to try to act like someone else and forget about where you came from. Sure you may grow up and become more mature, but you should never forget to think of yourself and whether what you sign up for at fresher’s fair is worth your time and effort, or just looks cool.

To all students, I hope you have s great time in your respective spaces and I these tips will find you well. If have any more of them then please feel free to leave them in the comments below.


Take Care,




Fresher’s Week: 6 Useful Things To Check Off

It’s that time of year again! When no-longer children fly the coop to explore a subject of their interests, or perhaps return after a couple of years there already in pursuit of the most expensive and valuable piece of paper you will ever own (well, until you decide to do a Masters or PhD!). Whilst some of you may have already arrived and settled in, and others may still be packing their bags and shopping for supplies, here’s a few things you should make sure to do in your first week or two of starting the new University semester.

Bring Your Documentation!

There’s no doubt when you first got accepted you’ll have been given a letter and some forms with reference information on. It’s important to keep hold of this, at least until after you’ve registered. Particularly for UK based students, it’s really important to bring your financial information as proof if you’re paying by student loan and your payment details if not.

If you’re returning for additional years, please check with your institution what additional documents you might need to register in addition to your finance.

Get Your Kit Before the Sales End!

If you’re leaving home, make sure you pick up all your housewares and essentials before the sales end. Rebuilding your life can be an expensive business, not to mention course materials and the instruments you need to do your assignments and homework on. If you’re not sure where to start or want something to double check by, please feel free to check our my Student Essentials post I wrote last year, I’ll be here when you get back.

Meet Your Neighbours

If you’ve moved into different accommodation that’s shared, it’s good courtesy to meet your fellow house or floormates, whom you’re going to be sharing facilities with for the next year. Many a lifelong friendship has started in student accommodation, but as with every epic journey of friendship, it starts with a first step. So be brave and knock first. You never know, you might just get a few knocks on the door in return. If you’re still staying at home, it’s worth introducing yourself to any newcomers on your street or on campus – many people will have travelled to an entirely new town and surroundings, so it’s nice to have a friendly and welcoming face when faced with a completely new environment.

Sign Up For The Vital Essentials

I’m a true hypocrite for this one (all the more reason to preach it!) but when the opportunity comes, it pays to sign up for medical services such as the doctors, dentist and opticians as well as knowing where the nearest hospital or medical centre is. Particularly with weeks of booze filled fun and winder diseases around the corner, it’s good to know you can head somewhere should your health go south.

Sign Up For the Less Essentials (But More Fun)

No fresher’s week is ever complete without a fair – a chance for both the university and student union/student body/Guild to showcase different extra curricular activities (sometimes known as clubs or societies) you can enjoy with your friends and colleagues outside of contact time. From chocolate to archery to debatable conversation to wildlife conservation – there’s usually something out there for everyone, and on the rare chance you are in that “unusually” bracket, you can often make your own with a few members and some ratification from the officials. Sign up is usually free and membership at bargain prices, so don’t just sit there…get out and do something special!

If socs and clubs aren’t your thing, maybe look into your university’s athletic union – there’s often a whole bunch of sports to choose from including football (both kinds), racquet sports, bowling, jousting,and swimming etc, with the possibility of this helping boost your exercise, allow you to have fun and potentially find a secret calling (after all, the NFL draft in the USA is traditionally performed with college football players).

Make the Most of Your First Week

For newcomers to university, there is always a lot going off for you to choose from to help meet new people, make new friends and learn more about the area. By day, take advantage of discounted tours and trips to local attractions, enjoy fair days and cookouts and fun events to get you into the student spirit. At night the bars and clubs come alive with cheap offers to entice you to spend away.

Whatever you choose to do, make sure to try at least 2 things out there – you may regret it later on down the line when you hear your friends talk the memory of something only they shared.

Use Your Frugal Instincts

One of the great things about student life, is the ability to get money off shopping items often with a large amount of the price sliced off. Look for coupons in your Student Union or Guild, flyers dropped in the postbox or mailbox, special offers for certain nights at bars, pubs, clubs and restaurants, sign up for your university’s discount program or a body like the NUS and Student Beans in the UK and keep an eye out for special offers with banks and phone networks.


Whilst this a very short list of the many things you must do and experience, I hope it’s enough to inspire you before you start, or help you continue if you’re already on campus.

For returning students, what other factors do you feel are important to remember? Maybe you disagree with what was included? Please feel free to continue the conversation down in the comments field.



Choosing Your Pad

A while back, I wrote about the guide to Moving into a Student House or Apartment, but what if this is your first time and you have to choose where you want to go? There’s a chance you got to sample the different types of accommodation on your campus open day – but if you’re still unsure or perhaps you’re looking to apply next year and want an idea of how students live, here’s a short guide to how you can spend your first year at University.

As the usual disclaimer, every country may approach this a little differently so the following knowledge comes from my UK experience and shared experience of the American college perspective from various friends and helpful internet peoples. Your results may vary.


Halls of Residence

Perhaps the most typical of student pads, the halls of residence offer a great way to build a community amongst your fellows studying in the same subject or at least on the same campus and hopefully will help to form a new circle of friends and connections.

The combinations of halls are as varied as the hotels they can resemble from the outside and each one will offer a different feel. Often named halls come in a small complex divided into ‘blocks’ that will contain a varying amount of amenities. These may include a laundrette, a security office, a lounge or hangout area, a bar, a shower block (should your bathrooms not be incorporated into the buildings itself), a post room/concierge and car parking facilities. Check with your accommodation office to find out the specifics.

At one end of the scale you’ll find the fully shared option – famously seen on TV and found around the American College campuses amongst other areas, Dorm rooms offer shared accommodation with one or more room-mates sharing the same sleeping quarters and working space. Having this setup means you won’t be short of company and for those that shared a bedroom with siblings or wider family growing up will have a familiar feeling (albeit on a more adult level) . The flip side to this of course means you’ll have to set ground rules and agree boundaries for decor and space and visitors.

At the other come single rooms along long corridors that share a common floor door and occasionally storage and kitchen facilities. Some halls also share bathrooms, whilst others will have them en-suite in some or all of the rooms. The responsibility for the upkeep of the floors/half floors and communal areas can vary here depending on if you’re cleaning your room, cleaning the corridor or helping to keep the kitchen clean.

A common middle-ground to these two extremes are the concept of “Flats”. These blocks tend to have floors will be divided into small groups of single rooms that share a kitchen and dining/living space and are often responsible for the upkeep of the general area as a smaller team.

Halls are often maintained by university staff, from having the kitchen and floors covered for basic cleaning, with you the tenants responsible for your own dishes, excess mess, bedrooms and bathrooms if you have one of your own with many institutions running regular inceptions to ensure contract rules are adhered to.

Finally, there’s different catering options. Self catered places do pretty much what is said on the tin – you’ll get a cooker, a fridge and sometimes smaller appliances such as microwave ovens and toasters provided to you in a kitchen and it’s up to you to feed yourself by some means. There’s also fully catered meal plans available in some halls often loaded onto a prepaid card that is handed to the cashier of the outlet of your choice at set mealtimes or in stores around campus. This prepaid plan may have some limitations often creating a partial-meal plan where you may have to fend for yourself for weekends or certain meals.

For more information on understanding this, take a look at these 2 clips from the University of Kent and YouTuber Katie Golan:

Courtesy of the University of Kent on YouTube

Courtesy of Katie Golan on YouTube

Large Managed Accommodation (University, Private Owned or Both)

Occasionally if your university is in a thriving city or a town where local business could benefit the university (which in turn should help local businesses thrive), accommodation is at the front door, with private companies often building their own residential blocks nearby and offering student rent similar to a halls of residence. The difference here is the owners are practically free to build out the layout how they wish, often offering more or more of services than standard university services will (even partnering with certain universities to connect to their campus networks for file/intranet access).

The other difference with these facilities is that they’re not tied down to your specific institution, so if there’s two universities in town or a a large college – there’s a chance students may be accepted from each, which could play out really well in terms of making new friends, but also interesting for rivalries and pranks.

Occasionally some accommodation may be owned privately, but the university will act as the landlord, kind of like a managing agent for a rented out house. The beauty of this means that you’ll be guaranteed certain standards with your place and will often pay your rent to the university like you would with halls – super useful if you get a maintenance loan/grant in the UK and in some cases this can be taken care of automatically.

Private Accommodation

Private accommodation effectively replicates what most people do when they first move out of their childhood home outside of university or after graduation, in which you’ll move into a flat/apartment or house owned by a landlord, pay them directly (or via a management agent) and follow their own set of contract rules. This is potentially the most individual of accommodations where rules can vary from having a live in landlord on site to everything is in working order (including yourself if you want your deposit back) all the way to never meeting your pad owners beyond handing over the keys and contracts at the beginning and end of your tenancy.

What you will have to pay for beyond the standard rent in these varies from property to property, although these tend to me more generous than the general housing you’ll find online – occasionally bills may be included with the rent as well as insurance or furnishings.

If you choose to go down this route, be sure to read the advert description carefully and to ask plenty of questions on a house tour to ensure you’re getting everything in the deal that you want to know.

A really useful website I and my housemates found useful during an accommodation search in my MRes years was Studentpad in the UK, which I would highly recommend if you’re new to taking the big step in a place that’s almost your own. Outside of the UK, the appropriately named allows you to do a countrywide search by university cities or the institutions themselves and aims to match to the requirements you need. If you don’t find any results in the automatic search, a form pops up allowing you to create a listing with your requirements in the hope a landlord may get in touch with the place you’re looking for.

Stay At Home

Finally, if you’re going somewhere local and you’re more of a homely type, there’s no harm in staying where you are. There’s nothing to pack, nowhere new to get used to (granted your parents may ask you to take some responsibility, or start paying rent, or both) and you’re in a familiar environment. Plus you’ll never worry about having to give up stuff or losing things in transit, because it doesn’t move.

There are flip sides to this as well such as the bonds often shared with housemates and camaraderie shared in living with people that you get to choose (kind of). With that said, there’s nothing stopping you visiting your friends in their accommodation and going to their parties, with the advantage of not having the responsibility of cleaning it up afterwards!


Returning students – where did you choose to live. New students – where are you planning to live at your respective space? Feel free to let me know in the comment box below and share some of your regrets or benefits you have for making your choice of living.

Still Unsure?

Why not take a tour of what’s available. Have a look at your respective University to see if they have any multimedia available or any clearing-style tours left to explore what’s available on or around your campus. If you’d like some inspiration, take the Kent video above for the full spin or check out the ones below from the University of Hull (cameo appearance) and the University of Nottingham.

Courtesy of the University of Hull, Scarborough Campus (RIP)

Courtesy of the University of Nottingham

Good luck finding your pad! Once you do, don’t forget to check out this previous post on how to make it your own!



3 Ways to Celebrate Pi Day

So, if you haven’t heard yet, today we celebrate the constant of Pi (3.141592…) thanks to those using the Middle-Endian date format of 3/14. Whilst many whom aren’t mathematically might wonder how to celebrate this numerical occasion, here’s 3 and a bit ways to enjoy the experience:

Invest in a Cheap Computer

For British folk, the name “Raspberry Pi” is a badge of pride being one of the most successful affordable computers that helped to pioneer hacking and coding for the younger age in the 21st century so far. Starting out with the intention of allowing schoolchildren access to a basic computer to learn programming skills on, the Pi has exploded in popularity and found uses in many projects from smart IoT inventions, to cheap media players, to web servers and basic everyday productivity machines ranging from as little as £4 for the “Zero” edition (Very often out of stock) to ~£35 GBP for a Model 3B (the latest version). So if you fancy learning a few new skills that might just help you with a job in the future, or you just want a cheap new thing to complete essays on or watch movies with, check out your favourite electronics shop for the Raspberry Pi range.

Pop Down to Your Local Chippy

(if you’re in the UK)

If you’re in the United Kingdom or a country with a nearby “Chip Shop” and failing that, your local bakery almost anywhere, enjoy your Pi day with a “Pie” for dinner.

For those with culinary talents, why not make one up with your favourite filling?

However you want to enjoy it, enjoy responsibly!

 Get Pi(e) Eyed

As students, what do (many) of you do best? Drink. If you’re into creative cocktails or shots, why not try out some themed drinks? Links to the right as always.

I hope you enjoy the day whatever you choose to do!


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Getting back to the Grind

The December period is over and it’s time to prepare for the next semester. Boo! It sucks, I know, but sometimes we need these times to really appreciate how awesome those long breaks can be sometimes.

So, since the work has to be done so you can get that degree, here’s a few things to do to help you get prepared for the return to uni (if you haven’t already).

Make a List

Some people love lists, others find them laborious, but particularly if you’ve got to travel back to student accommodation it’s important to make sure you’ve got everything you want to take back with you from clothing, to your notes, to your new presents as well as making a list of any further provisions you’ll need like food or anything you’re short of in the Essential Student Supplies that you might not have stocked up on before going home.

Task programs on your smartphone or tablet are helpful for this, or if you’re a multi device person like me, give Todoist or Evernote (not sponsored) a whirl and have your checklist with you wherever you go. If you prefer to go lo-fi, then the dead trees and ink approach is still a valid option.

Find Out Who Is Back When

One reason many hold off going back early is the fear of being on their own with nothing much to do, so make use of your contacts on your phone or social media to find out when your friends are going back too. If you think about it, going back early isn’t always bad. The library is quiet, so are the clubs (meaning they might finally play your song) and the pubs (no lines at the bar) and you can play your guitar at the volume your amp secretly wishes you could play at!

Maybe Finish Those Assignments?

Yeah…your deadlines will be coming up so if you haven’t started them yet, it’s probably best do start now lest you having to pull another all-nighter… (Totally not done that before).

Let Work Know Your New Timetable

If you’ve got a termtime job, it’s worth letting your employer know your potential changes to your timetable. New modules doesn’t always mean they’ll replace the times of the old ones – particularly if you share classrooms and teaching spaces with other programmes in your department(s). If you don’t, there’s a chance your sessions could clash with your shifts and before long you’ll soon find that either your job performance or your attendance/assignment performance will suffer, or both and that’s not a great start to the year!

Have Some Fun!

Going back to campus doesn’t need to be all depressing, if you’ve got a few days before the semester restarts and you’re back with your mates, go out and enjoy the reunion and remember the good times before all the exams and going home!


Going back to uni needn’t be a (organisationally) difficult process if done in advance of the semester starting again, so save yourself some stress and enjoy the good times before all the work begins again.

Happy New Year and I wish you all the best in a productive as well as fun 2017!



New Year’s Resolutions You Probably Won’t Keep

With only a few days to go before we wave goodbye to 2016, I’m sure many of you will be making new year’s resolutions up to announce as we speak. Without trying to me Mr Johnny Rain – cloud, I’ve been there any see it through both personal and friend’s experience and I know there are some of the more vague or cliché resolutions out there that either have a rare chance or simply do not work out. Here are a few red flags to avoid (or at the very least refine and personalise to be realistic for yourself!) so you can come up with something to keep past the first couple of weeks!

I’m Never Drinking Again

Often proclaimed on New Year’s Day itself, unless you have been considering it for a while for reasons personal to yourself or your health, just going cold turkey on the booze isn’t good for your wellbeing (when you’re out with your friends again) and for the more medical issues it’s also pretty dangerous. I’ve tried spontaneous cold turkey before a few times and it usually ends in one of two ways, a.) You either get bored on the night and eventually cave to the pressure. b.) You don’t cave and usually end up either bored of the night and go home early or suddenly responsible for everybody else that’s drunk. Now this doesn’t happen to everyone of course and for those people, power to you and I hope you have many more great nights to come! But for those who have had many nights out during the semester and don’t usually see the end of it, see it suddenly sober shows you a whole new view on clubbing that the staff usually see and you usually tend to prefer one side to the other.

If you plan on cutting down then it’s best to do it steadily. One approach is to maybe take it easy after Christmas, then take it gently on New Year’s Eve before finally easing into Dry January (a primarily UK initiative, but there’s no doubt our US and Canadian readers may also know people that perform this month long challenge). If you’d rather have fun on New Year’s, then maybe have a gentle January and slowly curb the alcohol you consume at pre-drinks whilst maintaining saving money when you reach the town. If you want a little help adding up the units, try the Drinkaware App and tot it up as you go, that way you’ll have full knowledge as you go as to what’s going in your bod at the time.

I Will Join The Gym

Now this one has two sides to it so bear with me!

For those that have wanted to and planned to join long term for a while and are using the calender marker as a chance at a start date, then that’s a great resolution! I wish you the best and after a good taster session or from previous experience I’m sure you’ll have a great experience.

Now for those that make the revelation on the night or the morning after with the realisation of their Christmas dinner, think carefully about it first. According to Ana Swanson’s report in the The Independent at the back end of this year, New Year’s resolution gym memberships bring the search traffic through into a 40% surge, but as the weeks go by, those unused contracted memberships increase as people realise it’s not for them or that it was all a whim and they’re not prepared for that much effort to get rid of a little weight.

So if you’re going for a little fitness, do it but think about how you want to achieve it first lest you not want to be burned by a 6 or 12 month subscription you’re only going to use a couple of months of.

I’m Going on a Diet

Again, like the gym, this one takes commitment and like drinking should probably be done to a sensible plan. First of all, what do you hope to achieve out of your diet? There are many definitions of the word “healthy” bandied about, with diets that cut out different food groups, others that restrict calories and others that are used to complement workouts and particular exercises. Many of these serve their purpose well provided they are followed correctly and for the right reasons. Picking one based on a mere name or whim may produce undesired results and cause you to go off the idea, blowing your resolution before the year is out.

The sensible option if you’re serious about changing your culinary intake is to decide what for. Many popular approaches now follow the basic idea of trying to balance your diet such as that of Slimming World, that doesn’t forbid foods but allows you to enjoy things in moderation in a guided manner. For those that are committing to their pre-tasted or returned to gym membership could take advantage of the Paleo Diet on advice of their personal trainers. If you attend the David Lloyd chain of gyms (and if you do you’ve got one impressive savings account!) you’ll find their café menu is based around this diet.

If you’re still feeling a little larger or want to be more active after reading this then groovy – just make a plan of what you want out of it and why you want to do it and that’ll get you one step closer to deciding just what plan you wish to follow and always have motivation to stick with it once the initial novelty wears off.

To Make 2017 The Best Year Ever!

Okay, this one sounds a little cynical, but for all of those saying that they can’t wait for 2016 to be over due to all the famous deaths/The events of Brexit/The US Election/The terrorists attacks/The Eastern Conflicts and more and 2017 will be awesome – I hate to break it to you, but 2017 will continue some of these trends. Brexit isn’t over yet until Britain has actually left the EU and the fallout of it has settled (if ever). To those that were shocked or unhappy with the US Election result, we still have a few years until Trump’s administration is thrown back to public voting so we’ll have to wait and see what happens, The conflict may well end or it may not but sadly and unfortunately it won’t happen overnight.

My point is, each year sucks in it’s own way for us on a personal or global level and will continue to. There is no single Best Year out there and many are now starting to realise this. However, that doesn’t stop you from making your own year great in your special way. If you’ve always dreamed of making a new change, you can use this year to  start the ball rolling. If it’s your final year, study hard, play to your strengths and do only your best to set in motion what you’re destined for (or indeed may start to find out what you’re destined for).


New Year’s Resolutions are a great way to improve yourself but are often cited too vaguely or ambitiously and sometimes ironically as many people know they won’t actually last out the month, never mind the year. But tweaked a little bit to become more realistic for yourself you can come up with a new fun way to live your life and you never know you might actually achieve it!


Happy New Year everyone and I hope you have a great end to 2016.