Big Camp 2015:

Having a father who was in the military means camping during the summer is a must. Unlike my sister, I welcomed this experience with open arms hoping the trip would allow me to disconnect from the world for a while. The Big Camp is an annual event organised by the National Trust (an organisation which works in a similar way to The English Heritage) where activities are based around the idea of family fun, some of which included a night walk, campfire games and marshmallow toasting. Despite the four broken nails, tent trouble and returning to an abundance of notifications, The Big Camp was thoroughly enjoyable.

 

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Summer Jobs:

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As well as taking a break from studying, a Summer job is the perfect opportunity to build up some experience in your areas of interest as well as help keep busy during this long break. Though the prospect of applications can be daunting, a good starting point is to research a few openings you may be interested in and start to construct a CV.

Here’s a few tips I found effective when applying for jobs and constructing a CV:

Rule number 1: Don’t be generic: Like a cover letter, you shouldn’t circulate the same CV to every job you apply for.

A great way to catch an employers attention is to take what qualities they’re looking for in the provided job description and tailor your experiences and the skills you gained from these experiences toward this description. For example, if a job requires you to work effectively in a team and you have retail experience, emphasise on how you had to work as a part of the store’s team in order to reach the store’s targets.

Rule number 2: Keep Concise: Your CV shouldn’t be more than a page long.

I know it’s difficult to fit all of your education, work experience and skills all on one page but a CV that’s more than a page long and full of sentences is most likely not going to be read all the way through. With this being said, you want to keep concise, but avoid just listing – bullet point the important points and anything extra can be written about in your cover letter or expanded upon in interviews.

Rule number 3: Languages

Languages are a highly desirable skill among employers so it seems like a good idea to highlight your GCSE in French, which is fine, but this doesn’t entitle you to say you’re fluent in French. Be honest about the level at which you are able to communicate in, if you’re really struggling to pin-point where you fall on the proficiency scale, take a quick look at the ILR website: http://www.govtilr.org/index.htm

Rule number 4: Don’t lie!

Although it may sound like a good idea to brag about having extensive experience in order to get a job, this only puts you in a sticky situation when you’re asked to illustrate these abilities though are unable to do so!

 

May Book Review:

It’s been a while, so this is going to be a long one.

Book and by default, Person: Jane Hawking and ‘Travelling to Infinity, my life with Stephen’

Jane and Stephen

 

Pin-pointing a single reason as to why this book captivates me as much as it does is difficult. Following Jane’s transition from Stephen’s innocent love interest to a wife working on her PhD whilst motherhood threw every challenge it possibly could her way, you can’t help but admire the strong, cultured and diligent woman Jane Hawking is. Jane perfectly puts into words the emotions being in love, being a mother and trying to find herself all at the same time evoke – she was determined to define herself outside of these confinements. The Historian in me couldn’t help but appreciate the first section of the novel throughout the course of which we are reminded that in the face of superpower confrontation and the world being at the brink of nuclear war, nothing was certain and the futures of these generations were far from promised. I think no matter what age or gender you are, there is something in this book that you identify with – though a lengthy read, the thought-provoking nature of this story certainly makes it an all-time favourite.

 

 

Staying Focused:

It’s that time again: early mornings and late nights in the library, living off of the Tesco Meal Deal diet and of course, procrastinating. The final exam season of the year is normally the one I find hardest – the weather’s warming up so the last thing you want to do is be in doors all day staring at a book or screen, the pressure is on with most modules having their biggest assessment this season and your friends at other Universities always seem to finish before you leaving you trying to live vicariously through their Snap-stories. Staying focused can be difficult, to say the least.

One of the things I find most useful is thinking about why I started in the first place and remembering the bigger picture: things that seem like the small steps now, often end up being the big ones when you look back. You don’t have to know exactly where you want to be in 5 or 10 years’ time, just have a rough idea of career and personal goals. Think of all the hard work you’ve done this far, it’d all be worth nothing if you decide to give up now. It gets difficult, but if it were easy, everyone would do it. Above all, remember to keep positive – every day may not be good but there is something good in every day.

Diamonds

p.s. the signs in the library are getting even better:

Really makes you think what people have been up to
Really makes you think what people have been up to

 

 

Obligatory Revision Breaks:

Having handed in my final assignments for this academic year, I thought I’d take a break from studying before exam season is in full swing. Consisting of family shenanigans, an Arrow catch up, 8am school runs, one too many breakfasts at Carluccio’s and watching a home game (of course) I’m feeling more than well rested for the busy period that lay ahead.

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April Book Review:

At the risk of sounding like a negative Nelly… let’s kick this off:

Book: Mindy Kaling’s ‘Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?’ 

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I love Mindy Kaling – I love The Office, The Mindy Project and above all, her lipstick choices. But I have to say, her book disappointed me. I was expecting – with unfair assumption – that Mindy was going to address a lot of pressing issues like how she deals with the pressure of fame, criticism about her size, pursuing an unconventional career.. etc. Although Mindy talked about some of these things, she failed to do so in the depth I hoped she would and when she did, she compensated these low points with humour – I don’t know why this surprised me, she is a comedienne after all.

I guess what I’m trying to say is after reading this book, I was left feeling sort of… empty. I felt as though it lacked substance and I didn’t really get what she was trying to say, or worse, if she was even trying to say anything at all. This book, however, did make me laugh on many occasions though I felt as if I was deprived some of these moments because of my inherent inability to understand the context of some of her humour – I feel like the audience for this humour, and in turn this book, is very particular – very American-Woman-In-Her-Late-Twenties-Or-Thirties-Wanting-Something-Light-And-Relatable-After-Work. My disappointment in this book rested with the fact that it wasn’t what I thought it was going to be – it was a light-hearted, easy read and from the title, conservative cover work and reviews I read I was expecting something with a bit more… substance.

However, if you are an American-Woman-In-Her-Late-Twenties-Or-Thirties-Wanting-Something-Light-And-Relatable-To-Read-After-Work – look no further. Readable within a day and following the style of a collection of short chapters and essays, this book is designed for the busy bee.

 

I Forget Where We Were:

Mind = Blown.

Ben Howard is my favourite artist of all time. I was lucky enough to be gifted a set of tickets, and after six long months of waiting, the day had finally come!

Ben Howard was my first experience at the Barclaycard Arena (formerly the NIA) – the venue is a lot larger than the O2 Academy so we arrived in good time before doors opened to make sure we were as close as possible – which certainly paid off when we ended up in the second row. Both the atmosphere and Ben Howard were phenomenal.

I feel as though his music is perfect for every mood and the diversity of the audience last night really showed how his music speaks to so many people. His lyrics are deep, the music is well thought out and he always rocks the perfect bed head.

I couldn’t wish for a more perfect evening <3

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Managing Second Year:

With the end of this term, it makes sense for me to share some pearls of wisdom:

Second year is exciting. You’re anxious to catch up with the friends you didn’t see over summer, settle into your new accommodation if you’re living out and check out the new student nights as well as return to the much loved favourites from previous years – Mooch Wednesdays, Gosta Mondays. In the midst of all of these exciting social aspects of university, it’s easy to adopt an ‘I’ll catch up later’ or ‘Missing one lecture won’t hurt’ attitude. And when it comes to placements, it’s easy to put your search off until ‘tomorrow’ or ‘next week’. It’s no shock that my biggest recommendation is going to be – don’t put things off, start early!

‘Early Bird Catches The Worm’

Keeping up with the work from your lectures on a weekly basis means that when it comes to exam time in particular, you’re not in a panic to get things done and you’re actually revising instead of learning. In terms of placements, getting a head start is useful for a variety of reasons;

  • The first step is getting the placement team to check your CV. The placements team are a lot less busy at the start of the year so you’ll have a better chance at getting your CV checked at a time that suits you.
  • Deadlines for some companies close as early as October due to them being open to applications throughout the summer period.
  • With two assessment seasons, you don’t want to be worrying about placement deadlines as well as exams and assignments, so take advantage of the lack of assessment toward the start of the year. I can’t imagine how stressful it must be to be writing placement applications and attending interviews/ assessment centers in or after April
  • Although some companies state their deadlines to be later in the year, so you think you have a few months to submit an application, many companies – especially companies abroad – require A LOT of documentation that you many not necessarily have access to at university: A-level certificates, medical checks, scans of ID. You need to organise yourself early on so that if need be, you can go home to collect these documents or make appointments with your GP to get medical checks done or interviews for international VISAs.

Keeping on top of things has its advantages, it helps you find that balance between work and socialising.

This term flew by, I can’t believe my second year is almost over. Here’s some highlights from this term:

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