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The Student Seat Hiatus

When I started this blog, I hoped I would get lots of brilliant people volunteering to write for me and within a year I’d be able to reach out to brands and companies and tell them about this little community I’d built.

I underestimated how much work this would take – well, I didn’t, I knew it would take a lot of work but I overestimated how much time I’d have to do this work.

At present, I’ve been trying my best to find out new contributors and writing posts of my own in the mean time to make sure the blog stays updated. In total I was trying to come with ideas for and write five blog posts a week and with all my second year assignments at uni, other society commitments and trying to have some sort of control over my health and sanity.

This isn’t me giving up on this blog – in the Summer when I have more time, I intend to look for someone to help me co-run the blog, as well as approaching bloggers specifically and asking them to contribute and perhaps even reaching out to brands and asking to collaborate. Maybe a contributors Facebook page would be useful too.

I have so many ideas and so much hope and passion for this blog that I don’t want this to be the end, but right now I can’t give it the attention it deserves to be as great as I know it can be.

Thank you for your continued support and to everyone who’s ever written for The Student Seat – you’re what made the last six months great.

Thank you.

 

In The Student Seat: Sophie
blog: SophieCountsClouds

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Should I go to an Applicant Day?

After you’ve been to an open day, maybe around the time you go for a university course interview you may be invited to an applicant day – to get a taste of your course and the kind of things you’ll be doing once you go to university (if you choose to go to that university that is).

But while you’re still deliberating your offers and waiting for other interviews, here are some reasons you should make the most of an applicant day!

  • An applicant day gives you the opportunity to see the university again.
  • Take a campus tour to get a feel for the university, especially if you’ve not been to the university before you can have a look around!
  • You can see the facilities in your department and what you’ll get to work with if you decide to go to that uni.
  • You can see the accommodation – if you like the course, halls shouldn’t necessarily be a deciding factor but it’s nice to have a little look around where you might be living.
  • Ask questions whilst there are lecturers and other tutors actually around – a lot of faculty won’t be around on open days, so make the most while people are actually there!
  • Talk to students who are already on the course – applicant days are a chance to talk to students who have been in your position and decided to do the course you’re interested in, so if there’s anything you need to ask that you don’t want to ask a lecturer, make the most of asking other students!
  • Just ask a lot of questions. Questions are good.

Essentially; see everything, ask about the units you’ll be doing when you start the course and ask about employability because mums like it when you tell them how employable you’ll be when you graduate.

Applicant days are really useful and you get out of them what you put into them, so make the most of the opportunity to find out more about where you might be living.

 

In The Student Seat: Sophie
blog: SophieCountsClouds

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Being Ill at Uni

One of the hardest thing to adapt to when moving to university is living alone – having to make yourself, having to do your own laundry, having to clean your room. But one thing that you don’t necessarily notice at first is that when you get ill, no one is there to look after you.

Whether it’s a cold or perhaps a more serious illness or maybe even just being hungover, but you notice it much more when there’s no one around you that can look after you.

It’s when you start to think that you might actually not be okay and you can’t ask your mum for advice, you have to go and get your own pain medication and book your own doctors appointment… Why is that so scary?

Here’s a few self help tips that you probably know but is kind of difficult to remember when your poorly and can’t think of anything else:

  1. Drink lots of water
  2. Don’t Google it – if you think you have cancer go to your doctor
  3. Nothing is too small for the doctor so if you’re scared, go
  4. No one will judge you for going to the supermarket in trackies, you’re not the first person to do it
  5. Try and eat at regular intervals, even if it’s just a slice of bread
  6. Drink more water
  7. Take painkillers regularly but if you’re taking multiple, make sure they’re okay to take together
  8. Don’t push yourself, if you need time off take it
  9. Don’t worry about food or eating healthy or doing exercise, unless that makes you feel better – eat and do what makes you feel better, whether that is salad or an entire bar of Cadbury’s Dairy Milk
  10. And then drink some more water

At the end of the day – if you think you’re seriously ill, book a doctors appointment because even if it’s nothing, it’ll give you some peace of mind.

 

In The Student Seat: Sophie
blog: SophieCountsClouds

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10 Ways to Help Your Mental Wellness

Bill Gates, a multi-billionaire, invented the personal computer. He’s in the top ten smartest men alive suffers from Aspergers Syndrome, which is in fact a mental illness.

“Mental illness”: these words have so many negative connotations. But this subject has been more heavily talked about over the past several years, with help being more readily available and stigmas removed. A term I’ve heard more recently is ‘mental wellness’. According to the World Health Organisation, ‘mental wellness’ is defined as “a state of well-being in which the individual realises his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.”

Sounds good right? Here are my ten tips for students, that have helped me towards this.

1) Declutter you desk and/or room
Try and take as many things as you can off of desks and surfaces and put them in drawers. Only put things out on show than make you happy/are aesthetically pleasing (e.g pictures, plants, other nice organised looking paraphernalia).

2) Get rid of 5 things you never use
Do it. It’ll clear your mind and your space and may even encourage you to have a full on sort out.

3) Put a plant or candle in your home
Yes those urban outfitters candles are hideously overpriced but they smell like sunshine and bring endless joy.

4) Encourage someone who’s working hard
They will appreciate it more than you will know.

5) Go one entire day without complaining
Or even just a few hours… we are British after all.

6) Call someone you love
Nan’s and siblings really appreciate this.

7) Don’t gossip
This one can be hard but it’s important not to spread negativity, even though it’s hard when people are being… well, people. But trying to be less bitchy will bring you more happiness.

8) Enjoy the little things
Wait, wait; I know this one can induce an eye roll. But try really listening to the lyrics of a song, taking it in when someone’s tells you about their day, i.e. listening with the intent to understand rather than the intent to reply. Slowing down and enjoying the moment can really help mental wellness.

9) Forgive someone (even if it’s really really hard)

And finally; 10) ASK FOR HELP.
A few months ago I was going for a rough time myself. It was only when a teacher had noticed my lack of motivation and general disinterest in participating that I actually noticed myself and decided to change. It sounds like crap but more times than you think happiness can be a decision, I figured out that life gets out when you put in. When things got hard I tried to shut off my feelings and ‘get through my situation’ which of course is never the right way to go which I found out the hard way.

I would like to tell any stud­ents that read this to choose happiness. If stress and lack of motivation has become a big part of your life choose to change. Whether its friends making you unhappy, your course or even your diet of pot noodles and oven pizza (a hard habit to break I know). Break the cycle and the rest will follow.­­

 

In The Student Seat: Nikki
Instagram: nikkifahyx

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The Student Cafe

A lot of students go to the library to get their work done, but a lot of students like going to independent cafes or a Starbucks or somewhere too – but imagine a cafe that was designed specifically for students to do work; a university cafe.

  • It would serve alcohol, energy drinks and hot chocolate at all times – depending on the kind of support you need to do your work.
  • Every table would have tissues for inevitable break downs and ongoing freshers flu.
  • There would be a stationery shop in the corner for emergency pens, paper and printing – and you could order in more specific supplies if you needed them.
  • There’d be a cosy corner for comfort with big chairs and bean bags but there would be different zones too – a quiet zone for those who want to work in silence and a working zone for those who need a bit of background noise or need to do group work.
  • Of course there’d have to be food on offer too – good food at reasonable prices (which is the main issue to any student) with breakfast and ice cream available all day too. The menu would be adaptable and if a student has a particular comfort food that they want or need then the cafe would do it’s best to try and incorporate it.

This all started off as a silly thought in a delirious work session amongst ridiculous deadlines but then, the more it was planned the more it actually sounded like a good idea!

What do you think? Is there anything else you think a student cafe would need? Any food or drinks that need to be served or any areas that need to be included?

 

In The Student Seat: Sophie
blog: SophieCountsClouds

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Educational YouTube channels you really need to know about

Revision is tedious at the best of times – it usually highlights how much you don’t know and whilst pretty coloured pens and post it notes are really exciting for some people, making revision notes and studying in any way shape or form can be so dull if you’re not into it.

But, in the days of the internet generation, there are enough people on YouTube making loads of educational content which could be a nice break from the textbooks and you’re still learning.

We’ve shortlisted five channels that you should be watching

Crash Course – with different units on science, English Literature texts and different eras of history summarised with interesting facts and really fun animations to keep it engaging and fun. They actually have playlists for philosophy, physics, literature, economics, US Government and History, astronomy, anatomy and physiology, Intellectual Property, World History, psychology, ecology, US History and chemistry. It’s worth a look even if you’re not revising, the hosts, John and Hank Green from the vlogbrothers channel, make everything so interesting.

charlieissocoollike – not necessarily a completely educational channel from the original British vlogger but his series called ‘Fun Science’ is precisely that – fun science! He’s just released a book of the same title too which is definitely worth checking out. Here’s the link to the playlist to watch Charlie’s fun science videos.

SciShow – a completely science based channel that is less designed for helping revision in the same way Crash Course is, but more to answer random thoughts and questions. Having a quick look at their page of playlists and you can see the astonishing variety of content they produce of topics within science and with nearly 4 million subscribers, they’ve got to be mighty interesting too.

The Art Assignment – this one is nothing to do with science! Not everyone studying or at university is doing academic courses like science or history – a very in depth exploration of art on a multitude of levels. The Art Assignment travels round the US talking to artists to give assignments, such as recreating movie posters with clip art and comic sans. The channel boasts incredible variety and is oddly inspiring to the studying art student.

Hannah Witton – not necessarily an ‘educational’ channel as such, but sexual health and education is important too and Hannah talks about these topics from a very well researched and experienced point of view. Her most recent and on-going series ‘The Hormone Diaries‘ takes a really interesting look at her experience of coming off the pill and ‘Vlognukah‘ was an exploration into Hannah’s jewish heritage and a nice play on Vlogmas.

Let us know of anymore channels you like to watch when you’re revising (the educational ones that is) or any blogs or websites you use to study!

 

In The Student Seat: Sophie
blog: SophieCountsClouds

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Tasks you should do every week

At this point in the year, if you’re in your first year you’re probably just about getting the hang of living on your own – especially having been home for Christmas which suddenly feels really weird – there are a few tasks that become a lot easier if you do them every week.

Laundry – doing your washing doesn’t have to be once every three weeks in a load that doesn’t properly wash or dry because the load is too big. Just pick one day, probably when you aren’t going to leave your flat for a couple of hours and every week go and do you’re washing. You’ll feel organised and you’ll have clean clothes, it’s a win-win.

Tidy your space – over the week, your desk and living space can get a bit clustered – things get dropped on your desk and some clothes will probably end up on your floor but if you spend just ten minutes a week tidying things and putting them away then again, you’ll feel organised and it might even make you want to do some uni work, but don’t push yourself too hard, y’know.

Make a food plan – whilst improvising dinner, eating Pot Noodles and frozen pizza sounds like an ideal life plan, if you want to eat healthily and cook meals, then it’s easiest if you make a list and plan food for an entire week, then you only have to go shopping once and it actually ends up being cheaper in the long run. If you plan to have frozen pizza for dinner one night, that’s absolutely fine but at least if you’ve planned it you don’t have to run to Asda ten minutes before it shuts to buy it.

Look at your bank account – I know, it hurts but knowing how much money you have (or how close you are to the end of your overdraft) can make it easier to have more control and start moving in the other direction, if that’s one of your New Years Resolutions. Keeping track of your money and spending is difficult but making lists and staying on top of it does make it a little bit easier.

Make a list of assignments, exams and revision – it isn’t nice, but listing every piece of uni work you have to do means you do have it all written down in one place. Even if you then don’t do anything about it, you have the list of everything that needs to be done.

Make a to do list in general – this is where you can refine your uni work if you need to, put what you actually need to do in order, pick a certain topic to revise or pick a certain theme you need to research, alongside other weekly tasks like laundry or making a food list – a to do list is a really easy way to keep this all in one place.

Clean your bathroom/bedroom – not just tidying it but actually making sure it’s clean – whether it’s just wiping down your bathroom, putting some bleach in the toilet and changing your bed sheets, a couple of tasks a week will do the job. Don’t be stinky.

Start a ‘Wishlist’ – if you’re trying to save money and you’re prone to spending a lot, making a wish list of things you want to buy when you have a bit more money. Then it’s there and you know you will buy it at some point but you haven’t actually spent the money.

Definitely have at least one Netflix binge a week, minimum – you’re not a real student if you don’t procrastinate a lot, right?

Eat – get through at least one full box of ice cream, one full bar of chocolate or one full packet of Haribo, maybe all three, whilst binging on Netflix.

Then don’t do any of the above.

I’m joking, but doing these tasks every week isn’t easy, so maybe just pick one or two. Happy New Year and good luck for your next semester at uni!

 

In The Student Seat: Sophie
blog: SophieCountsClouds

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New Year, New Plan -The Student Seat in 2017

I wanted to write a more person, kind of admin post today to talk about what I have in mind for The Student Seat this year! ‘I’ being Sophie, hi.

The Student Seat has been a real passion project of mine since I came up with the idea in August – I love talking about and sharing the student experience and seeing it come this far has been so rewarding.

In just four months I’ve had some incredible guest writers writing about a huge variety of topics, I’ve been in contact with an awesome social media company to work with them and I can’t wait to see The Student Seat grow even more in 2017.

I really want this blog to succeed and I’m hoping to have more contributors and post a lot more in the coming year – so far I’ve been writing a post every other week around guest writers and I’m planning to not write as much next year, hopefully we’ll have even more guest writers posting about an even bigger variety of topics. We might even start posting more than once a week but all of this depends on having enough guest writers for now.

Talking and writing and encouraging other people to talk and write about student life and the student experience means a lot to me – as a student, I know lots of other students and I know lots of people who are about to leave for university who have no understanding of what university life is like and I want to give them somewhere to read about student life from the perspective of students.

If you, the one reading this blog post right now, could share this blog, tell people who might be interested in writing that this blog exists and share our Facebook and Twitter pages for people to get in contact! Even just reading this blog is helpful, so thank you for letting The Student Seat be part of your 2016, here’s the 2017!

 

In The Student Seat: Sophie
blog: SophieCountsClouds

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Christmas at Home

Christmas for a lot of university students means being in your home town spending time with family and friends and making the most of not having to live independently at uni for a week or a few and saving a little bit of money!

For a bit of Christmas fun, here’s a list of a few things to make the most of whilst you’re at home!

Not having to cook – not having to remember to start cooking an hour before you’re hungry and then deciding what you want to eat.

Not having to wash up – just like when you’re a child – you eat dinner and next time you go in the kitchen the dishes are done! Or, if you’re super lucky, you have a dishwasher at home.

Not having to remember to wash your clothes – you don’t get down to your last pair of pants because mum put a wash on and she asked if you had anything that needs doing! That or you have more clothes to access because you’re at home and there’s some things you don’t have stored at uni.

Not having to worry about paying for heating – rather than freezing in a student house, parents have heated houses! Not that my dad will turn it on anyway but in theory, it’s warmer at home!

Relaxing – you don’t have to worry about a bit of TV time because it’s the holidays, you’re allowed to relax and assignments and revision can wait, at least until after boxing day and up to New Years Eve.

See your family – make the most of your family and friends while they’re there and trains don’t cost the Earth to get to see them. It’s all well and good making the most of good WiFi and a nice shower but spending time with your family is nice amongst all the festivities.

Sleeping – no one getting in from a night out at 3am, not 9am lectures or late working nights – you can go to be at a normal time and catch up on all that sleep you missed out on in the first semester!

Money – you don’t have to pay for groceries, sometimes your parents offer you money if you’re meeting friends for drinks and, especially over Christmas, they have snacks galore! It’s nice to save a little bit of money before the student loan comes in after New Years.

Friends – see all your friends from school whilst you’re all in the same place! It’s so nice to catch up with those you’re still friends with and catch up on all the gossip.

But then, at the end of the day, it might be nice to offer to cook for your parents, or do the washing up once or twice.

Merry Christmas from The Student Seat and a Happy New Year!

 

In The Student Seat: Sophie
blog: SophieCountsClouds

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Bullying in High School

School. Some people love school and some people hate school. But hey, probably some of us hated school because of the bullies that runs in them to make our lives more miserable than we want them to. But I’m gonna tell you how you can overcome it with the help of your best friends, family, teachers and, not forgetting, yourself.

It was in the month of September, I was still a new kid in the block for around five months and everyone in my school was still trying to get to know me but it was hard since I was rather a shy kid that didn’t like to talk much. Anyway, it was a crystal clear Tuesday afternoon in the library. The usual me wanted to have something to read since I didn’t have many things to do on that afternoon. I went to the fiction section of the library to find something interesting to read when a group of boys and girls started looking onto my direction and laughed. It was quite awkward since they were staring at me but I shook it off as nothing. 15 minutes after finding the perfect book and having it checked by the library assistant so that I could bring it home, the same group of boys and girls were behind me, this time they were taunting me for how I dressed. I was wearing a cotton tribal shirt with skinny pants, to top that off I wore a green jacket to make me feel less awkward around people I walk pass and also to keep me warm. Anyway, they were taunting me with words like “idiot”, “terrorist”, “go back to where you came from you Asian” which hurt me a lot but I also tend to just shake it off till that hit me off guard.

I went home, up the stairs and slammed the door to my room. I cried my soul out till my dad came into my room after hearing me cry for more then an hour. I told him everything and he hugged me, which calmed me down. What he said was wise and beautiful, it still hooks onto my brain even though I’ve grown stronger than I was over the past years.

“You see Alyah, in life you’ll meet certain people. Some people will be there to help you grow smarter, some people are there to help you grow stronger. Some people will even help you by putting their hands behind your back and push you forward. But in life, nothing is ever complete without darkness around the back of a candle that lights the way. You’ll meet people that will try to bring you down, taunt you, hurt you in ways that will make you stop and just give up. But you shouldn’t; never give up. It’s because of you that your best friends are laughing at your silly jokes. You’re their candle, light their way up. Never give up just because idiots like them are taunting you, they’re taunting you because they can’t be you. Remember that, and you’ll have a beautiful life.”
After all those talks my dad gave me, I finally realised that bullying is just a way for people who are way below you to try and bring you down. Six years after that I still kept in contact with my best friends who had been with me through out school times. If I could do it, so can you. Be who you are, be you.

 

In The Student Seat: Ellie
social media: twitter

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