Monday, 25 January 2016

Hello 2016!

I am aware that we are most of the way through January, so this New Year post is a bit belated! Let's rename it to Hello Burns Night!

As the Scots among you will know, Burns Night is huge in Edinburgh. Haggis, neeps & tatties (that's turnip and potatoes to the rest of us) and the obligatory whisky is a celebration to the famed Scottish poet Robbie Burns. Those of you who were terrorised by Of Mice and Men may know the poem from which the title is taken.

As soon as you hit the border though, Burns Night is all but forgotten/ignored, and that's what I want to blog about. Even though we're all on the same land mass, there are some culture differences between Scotland and England, especially when you're a student from one in the other. Pizza crunch (deep fried pizza) is actually a thing, Irn Bru is the best hangover cure, and I'm not even going to talk about the joys of square sausage, tattie scones and haggis. It's not all food though, the Scots practically speak a different language. I often have to ask friends to repeat words or explain what they mean- patched, ned and jakey to name a few... When your flatmates live close to home, it does make it sink in how far away Scotland actually is. A lot of the Scots here have loads of friends from home at the same unis because there aren't that many Scottish unis, but for residents of Scotland, they're £9000 cheaper per year than studying in England. It can get a bit lonely knowing that your closest friend from home is in Newcastle/ Durham/ Leeds/ Liverpool/ even further away, and that it's hard to visit when trains are so long and so expensive. That being said, there are lots of English students up here, particularly from London, so it doesn't feel too foreign! 

My only advice to anyone accepting offers right now is to visit the unis one last time, and to really think about what's the right choice for you. It's not about which one is highest ranked or oldest or most prestigious, but which is the best fit for you. Had I have thought more about it, maybe I wouldn't be writing the next blog post that will be up next week!

Keep reading lovelies x

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Christmas is past...

Hey! I really hope everyone else had as good a Christmas as I did!

Whether you celebrate it religiously or not, the holidays are such a good opportunity to get away from the university bubble, reconnect with friends from home and relax with family (and of course to get some home cooked meals!). Life at uni can be draining, and even just a week off to relax can do wonders in helping you look forward to the new term.

Looking back at first semester:

Some things about uni are exactly what I thought they'd be, and others not so much.

Sitting my exams, I realised that maybe I hadn't studied quite as well as I thought I had. I thought I'd get used to the unstructured environment pretty quickly, but I never actually settled into a routine of doing work at home, so probably ended up doing way less than the recommended number of hours of work.
Joining societies was pretty easy in Freshers Week, but actually sticking to them proved a bit more difficult! I stuck to Amnesty International for a good few weeks, and Snowsports, but AI wasn't really for me.
Being able to go out any night of the week is great, and the number of different places to go is insane compared to the two clubs back home, but I don't remember the last time I made a 9am!
I used to cook a lot at home, but at uni I barely cook at all cause toast is just so convenient... healthy I know.

Looking forward to next semester: 

Ever seen the film Yes Man? Maybe too extreme, but I'm going to take a leaf out of Jim Carrey's book, and start saying yes more often!

Joining a couple more societies, maybe getting involved with a sport, even going to the gym (ugh), I'm just gonna start saying yes more!

Top tips to you all:
Smile more- it's infectious
Complain less
Get more sleep! (Almost everyone could use more sleep, trust me on this one.)

Keep reading lovelies, I'll be back in the New Year!! 

Monday, 7 December 2015

Exam time!

Hey guys,

I know most unis have exams after Christmas, but here our exams are before we break up. In a way, it's good because it means I don't have to revise over the holiday, and can actually spend it relaxing with family and friends back home, but it's also turned my Advent calendar into a countdown of doom! Every door opened is a door closer to Christmas, but it's also a door closer to my four exams!

Lectures are finished now, so it's up to me to make the most of the next couple of weeks for revision.
Revision at uni is really different to at school. Everyone says that the structure of learning is very different, and they're right. At uni you don't have anyone to answer to (unless attendance is taken at lectures/tutorials!), you can choose your best learning methods, and they don't post answers to exam papers! There is a lot of support available, but you have to work out where to go find it, it won't just come to you.

So, in light of this lovely time, I have FIVE top tips for revision at uni!

1- Learn it the first time!

It's called revision for a reason, you're supposed to be revisiting and consolidating the material, not learning it for the first time. Nothing should be new when you're preparing for exams, so it's really really important to stay on top of all your work during the term, not just the couple of weeks before the exam!

2- Get out of your room

Everyone knows that it's tempting to stay in bed, and say you'll be productive from your warm, cosy room, but we all know that you'd get far more done in the library or other study spaces. It's less acceptable to watch Netflix in your jammies when you're in a public place, so you do actually get work done. Bonus points if you leave your phone at home!

3- Set yourself a timetable

It's really easy to lose a sense of structure at uni, especially when there aren't any lectures. The day can fly by without you realising, and you end up doing very little work. Come up with a timetable, with frequent short breaks, and you will be so much more productive. It doesn't have to be 9-5, it could be morning and evening, with afternoons off, or any structure that works for you. See point 4 though!

4- Start early!

I mean this in two senses, both lots of time before the exam, and early in the mornings. Don't fall into the trap of starting revision at 1pm, and then getting stressed out and feeling like you've not done enough. This is only going to result in you working later into the night, and that will seriously mess up your sleeping patterns. Get up and out nice and early so you can relax in the evenings... which takes us on to my last tip.

5- Relax!

It's so important to look after yourself in times of stress, and exam periods can be the most stressful of all. It's imperative that you eat healthily, exercise and sleep well. Ensure that you're setting aside time to relax, and take time out from studying. Whether you go shopping, or to the cinema, or just veg out in front of the telly, you need to give your brain a rest sometimes.

So all that's left is for me to say good luck in exams, whether they're coming up now, or after Christmas!!

P.S. If you do find it getting too much, talk to someone! Everyone's there to help!

Keep reading lovelies x

Wednesday, 25 November 2015


I'm Kate and I'm currently ten weeks in (agh!) to an undergrad degree in Physics, in the amazing city that is Edinburgh.

Tell anyone you're doing a Physics degree and they'll look at you with a mix of confusion and slight awe, followed by an "Ugh why! You must be really good at Maths!" That sentence was essentially the soundtrack to my Freshers Week,but I still hear it more often than I'd like to! Before coming to uni, I'd always been a sciencey person, and sort of fell into Physics as my favourite, so here I am. I still have no idea what I want to be "when I grow up"... but I have four years here in Edinburgh to decide.

With exams looming in just two weeks, the weather being less than ideal, and a broken radiator, today uni doesn't feel like it's "the best time of my life", but when I hand in my assignment and visit the beautiful Christmas market I'll feel differently!

Keep reading lovelies, I'll be back soon!