Looking after your mental health over the summer

After an intense year of round-the-clock revision, note-taking, essay-writing and everything else in between, the summer holidays is the perfect time to unwind and step out of the academic sphere for a while. Yet, for many people, the summer vacation can be one of the loneliest periods of the year and this can have serious repercussions on our mental wellbeing. Self-care is so often overlooked, but if we really take the time to pause and reflect, we can develop a sound framework that we can keep returning to whenever we feel like we need a break. Continue reading

Studying film

One of the things I love about my degree in English Language and Literature is its heterogeneity. I can go from attending a lecture on articulatory phonetics one day to one on Nietzsche and philosophy the next. It’s so eclectic. I enjoy the variation as it means I can dip in and out of lots of different academic fields that interest me and explore new areas that I might not have considered before. I’m often asked which I prefer out of the two subjects, but it’s hard to say really because there’s aspects of both that fascinate me equally as much. I also find it difficult sometimes to separate the two as they complement each other in so many ways. Despite the diversity, one area I’ve developed a particular interest in is film. Continue reading

Surviving assessment centre interviews

As part of the rigorous selection process for TeachFirst’s Leadership Development Programme, a key stage is the assessment centre. Before I was invited to attend the assessment centre-based interview, I had literally no idea what to expect. It went a lot better than I anticipated, though, so I thought I’d share a few tips that helped me get through the whole process. Continue reading

Being a committee member

One of the things I do slightly regret about my first year of university is not taking full advantage of how many societies and sports the university offers. I mean, I did attend the odd GIAG event now and then, but I never really stuck with anything consistently. I think this might have been because I was still adapting to university life and trying to settle into things. I feel like this year, however, in my second year, I’ve been able to experiment more with new things and try out different activities, such as radio presenting (which I 100% recommend you try!). To be honest though, I do think I went a little overboard on the whole society-experimenting thing in my first week back…My date diary was literally full to the brim with ‘meet and greets’ and various other socials. (It was exhausting. I love people, but in small doses.) Anyway, this year I’m part of the Mental Health Matters Society committee after getting involved in the society in my first year. I’m only four months into the role of Web Officer, but I absolutely adore it and everyone on the committee. Continue reading

In praise of friends

I love how easy it is to meet so many different personalities and make new friends whilst you’re at university. I’ve met some of my closest friends through societies I’ve joined. At the same time, however, no one I know quite compares to my best friend from home, Heather, whom I’ve known far too long, and will probably never be able to get rid of (joking, joking…*cough*). Throughout university, and, indeed, most of my life, Heather has been my ‘go-to’ person for literally everything. So, as we’re gradually nearing Christmas, and as I’m still ridiculously behind on gift-buying, I thought I’d stave off shopping just that little bit longer and take the opportunity to thank her, simply for being brilliant and for making life 100% more endurable. Continue reading

Finding a voice…On Forge Radio!

I seem to have taken on a whole lot more extra-curricular activities this year. Since I started running, for instance, I decided to join the university’s ‘Athletics and Cross Country Society’, which I recognise now was most definitely a faux pas. After joining them on a few group runs, I’ve discovered unfit I actually am. It’s not even funny. Before joining them, I honestly thought I wasn’t that slow, but it turns out that their ‘jog’ pace is literally my sprinting speed! Help. And those hills…To be fair though, I did take part in the Northern Cross Country Relays last weekend and I didn’t come last, so I guess I am making progress, right? (No). Continue reading

Still adjusting in my second year

For the past two weeks I’ve been settling into my new student home here in Sheffield but, despite the fact I’m entering into my second year now, it still feels as though I have a lot of catching up to do. Last year I was a commuter student, travelling to and from my hometown of Rotherham, which is about ten miles north of Sheffield (for those of you who followed me as I experimented with various types of transport in an effort to figure out the most suitable, cost and time effective form of travel, I finally grasped how to use trams, which was ironic as they stopped working immediately after my breakthrough for ‘improvements’. Parking never worked out, and buses turned out to be incredibly unreliable. So, in the end I just stuck to using trains.). As you can probably imagine, then, it’s been quite a big change for me. What I’ve come to recognise, though, is that university life is profoundly multifaceted: it is as much about developing yourself as it is about deepening your understanding of a subject you love. Continue reading

Considering routes into teaching: TeachFirst

In many of my previous blog posts, I’ve been recording my journey as I work towards pursuing a career in teaching. One of the biggest problems I’ve faced so far is what level I’d like to teach at, although I think I’ve finally settled on secondary level. Yes, I know. Mad. But I think I’m ready to embrace the challenge (I hope – don’t hold me to this. I’ll report back in three years time and let you know if I still feel the same). Just as I seem to have resolved one conundrum, though, another one has developed and is irking me just as much: what route into teaching is best for me? Continue reading

Reflecting on first year

Despite the fact my exams finished over two weeks ago, I don’t think it has fully sunk in that my first year at university is over. It’s such a bewildering thought! Where has the time gone? Everything seems to have flown by so quickly. It doesn’t seem two minutes ago that I was registering at the Goodwin centre and now here I am. Mad. It’s been an incredible year, though, and I am proud of all the amazing things I’ve managed to accomplish and excited about the challenges 2nd year has to offer. Continue reading

How running helps me deal with exam stress

With exam season looming and deadlines creeping dangerously close, revision and research seem to be the topics at the forefront of everyone’s mind at the moment. We’re all trying so hard to persevere and maintain our focus, just for these last few weeks so that we can relax and unwind over the summer, that a lot of us are forgetting to look after our well-being and health at the same time. It’s important that we try to achieve a balance in our lives, and something that’s really helped me feel a lot more uplifted is running. Here’s a little bit about how I got started as a beginner and how you can get involved, too. Continue reading