Thursday, 31 July 2014

Clearing

Hey guys! This blog is going to be all about the UCAS process known as Clearing. For those of you who don’t know Clearing is something that you are entered into when you do not hold any UCAS offers of a place at University. Once you are in Clearing you can contact universities individually to see if they will accept you onto their course.

Clearing is a very high pressured and daunting situation. You have hundreds of thousands of potential students all fighting over the last few remaining places at university. Yet, there’s no reason to fear or to worry or to stress out, as long as you properly prepare and think about your actions!

Research what university you want to go to properly and what course you want to undertake. Ultimately it’s your choice to make as it’s your degree and you who pays the tuition loan so make sure you pick the choice that’s right for you!

There are plenty of good independent websites online that will provide you with impartial and accurate information about what university you want to do and where a certain course can take you in terms of your career and educational progressions. Once you have selected the universities and courses that you wish to apply for, then get prepared! Get all your affairs in order, so when you contact the university you can give them your UCAS number and then hopefully they can take an application from you and you can get a place. You also have to make sure that when contacting universities that you are actually in Clearing, i.e. you’re not holding offers or referred to any other institutions. You know you are in Clearing as it will say on your |UCAS track status: ‘In Clearing’.

Ultimately, it doesn’t hurt to be prepared. If you are worried about receiving your results on August 16th, it doesn’t hurt to spend a few hours already online, looking at alternative universities and courses. So that if the worse should happen on results day, you are already prepared!

I hope that this little nugget of advice helps all of you who are reading this. Finally remember, the only stupid questions are the ones you don’t ask…

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Hello again.

Sorry it has taken me so long to write this blog. If truth be told I have sat down several times to start writing this and always somehow get distracted and or somehow lose what I have already done.

It has been a mental month since we last spoke. I believe my last entry was when I was on the train to Edinburgh to begin what turned into a stressful yet very enjoyable three weeks of escorting my American delegation around the UK and Ireland. We started off touring around Scotland, in the Scottish Highlands, White Water River rafting and learning about Scottish culture. We then caught the ferry (my first time on a ferry) across the water to Northern Ireland. 

When we were there we learnt about the troubles that had plagued Belfast in the past and also got to visit the Northern Ireland parliament, Stormont, which was a very impressive building. From Belfast down to Dublin in the Republic of Ireland where we spent a few days staying with local families and learning about traditional Gaelic sports like Gaelic football and hurling.  

From Ireland onto another ferry across to Wales, where we spent a couple of nights staying at the base of Mount Snowden. 

From Wales across the border to Chester and then down to Warwick where we had an exclusive medieval themed night at Warwick castle which ended with the world’s largest trebuchet firing a massive ball of fire. Then we ended our three week tour in London doing the traditional things such as a tour, the London Eye and a theatre show.

While the above may all sound very glamorous, looking after thirty people and being responsible for carrying out the packed pre-arranged itinerary was very hard and tiring work. Although it was a very rewarding experience in which I got to meet some very impressive young adults from Arizona.


Coming home to a house than I had previously only spent one night in before going travelling was a strange experience which made coming home all the more difficult. However once I settled into work again, and began to start to have a routine, it became easier. Now I spend my days working 9 till 5 in the Enquiry Unit helping callers with whatever may be the problem.

I always like my entries to have a purpose and this one is no different. I was only able to go travelling round the UK and Ireland for three weeks and getting paid too because I said yes. When an external company came to the university to give an employee presentation, I went, listened, made notes, realised that this is something I want to go and so I did. Once I realised I wanted to do it I put all my effort into doing so, to achieve my goals. I believe that is something that can apply to numerous aspects in life. If you really want something, then take it. Do whatever you need to do to achieve your goals. That can also be applied to Clearing which I’ll speak about in my next post.

So long for now chums!

Carney.





Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Off to Edinburgh

Hello people, care to guess where I am? Well to be perfectly honest, I do not really know… I am on a train to Edinburgh. We went passed Newcastle about 25 minutes ago and we are due in Edinburgh in about 35 minutes. Apart from that I have no idea where I am…

So just a quick update. Yesterday I moved into my very first house. Obviously not the very first house that I have ever lived in, but the very first house that has ever been mine (well it’s not technically mine, but I do rent it nonetheless). Moving house is always stressful, regardless of what stages of your life you are in. As ever, I like to have a useful message in my ramblings. This entry is no different. The most useful advice I can offer in terms of moving house is, limit the amount of stuff you have! It’s amazing how much stuff you can accumulate without even realising it! Especially someone like me who has a ridiculous amount of stuff, and no apparent reason for most of it. And so, when you move into a house or even in or out of halls for that matter, the more stuff you have the more difficult, tiresome and tedious moving is. Especially in my situation where no one in my family actually drives, therefore I am forced to rely on the kindness of friends… My ridiculous amount of stuff surprisingly does not entice anyone into helping me… And so, try to limit the amount of stuff you bring with you to university. While it may be very nice to have all of your home and creature comforts surrounding you, you then have to move everything into a place only to move it all out again 9 months later!

As for me; why am I on a train to Scotland I hear you ask?  Well for the next three weeks I shall be escorting 30 American high schoolers and their teachers around the UK and Ireland for work. Just to iterate, this isn’t for the university but an outside company. My role is somewhat stressful, long and underpaid but I handle the program and the logistics. Making sure that the extensive pre-booked and pre-arranged educational and cultural program is followed extensively. The money may not be great, but it is a fantastic opportunity to meet new people, see more of the country I live in and do some really cool activities, so that compensates it.

FYI – this is a job I found through my universities excellent job department, where a representative of the company I now work for (my boss) came to my university and gave a presentation.

I’ll check it at the start of next month. Good bye my friends.

P.S. A massive thank you to Denise who also works in my office who helped me move house and put up with my massive amount of useless stuff in her precious car.


^ Cringe or what eh?

Monday, 16 June 2014

Bloggy update! - Spain

So travelling around Spain was pretty cool… I spent a week near a place called Murcia on the Spanish coast lazing by the pool and the beach. Originally I thought that I would hate it, just lying there not actually doing anything but I actually really enjoyed it. That could be just because that I had a good book and the weather was amazing.

Then after a week by the pool, I headed off to Madrid for a few days all by myself...  This was the first time I had ever been travelling by myself. All the previous trips I’ve been on around Europe had always been with a friend. I’m not going to lie, I was pretty scared….

But all my fears turned out to be unfounded. When I eventually arrived in my hostel in Madrid (after several travel complications) I immediately made friends with people all over the world. It’s quite interesting that the social norms are completely different when you’re travelling, it’s perfectly acceptable just to go and talk to a random person, simply because you and they are in the same place and speak a mutual language.  I experience the local culture in numerous ways, savoured the nightlife (which was immense) and checked out a few churches, cathedrals and museums.

It’s funny though, whenever you go away from home, you spend so long adjusting to a new place or situation. You finally adjust and almost settle into a routine and then you go home! It feels like you were last at home an age ago rather than just a few days.

I’ve attached a few pictures just to show you all and make you jealous. But I got my comeuppance when coming back from Madrid, my flight was delayed by four and a half hours! Damn you Ryanair. This meant that I had missed all the trains back to London from Stansted airport and instead had to trek home using a variety of buses and coaches. I got home at 4.30AM despite arriving at the airport in Madrid at 4.00PM

I’ve now got a week of full time work ahead, while trying to move house and while trying to prepare for going travelling for three weeks for work (not uni work) with 40 American children in town!


I’ll try and submit a quick post before I leave next week. Enjoy the pictures.  Bye! 












Tuesday, 27 May 2014

And it’s all over.

Hello my friends, as the title of this entry may suggest, the academic year (for me at least) is now over! My exams are done, I’ve passed the year with a 2:1 (just) and I go to Spain next
Saturday (woo)!

It’s been pretty hectic the last week, with the term ending, several friends having birthdays and my summer ball just gone on the previous Friday. They had bumper cars at the summer ball, which was hilarious and also quite sickening.



Once I come back from Spain, I have a week in London, in which I have to work and move house before then going away for another three weeks. This time it’s for work! So at least I’ll be earning money as opposed to spending it – which is always nice I suppose.

Then sadly, I return to London and spend the next two months working full time for the university. Which for some reason I am actually looking forward to – the university and my office (the Enquiry Unit) move into a period known as Clearing. It’s hard work, intense, long, tiresome but ultimately it is quite fun and a good laugh.

As ever I always like my entries to have a useful message and this one is no exception. My piece of useful advice this time is to make use of the summer. Make use of the two/three months you have free and plan for the next year. That could be either working or gaining experience (and money), doing an internship or preparing for your course via reading and researching. Just any additional work that could be put in is good until September starts and summer sadly comes to a close. 


So that’s it really, I’ll try and check in while I can. Enjoy the sun! (when it is actually out). 

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Two down, one to go!

So just another short and simple update from me. I’ve done two out of three of my exams! I’ve gotten the two harder ones out of the way and now I only have one left.

I’ll be so happy once I finish my exams, things are just a lot easier. Nor can I wait for Summer! Longer days, better weather and everyone is just happier.

I just have one exam left and that is my politics exam. It may be weird but I am actually looking forward to this exam. That may be because it’s simply my last exam or the fact that I am quietly confident about it. Which has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that my lecture told us all the exam questions in advance – what an awesome guy! If only all my lecturers were so kind, it’ll sure make my life a whole lot easier...

On the plus side, I also go to Spain in less than three weeks! I and a few friends are going to one of my friend’s family villa in Murcia. It’s nothing special, but I’m just looking forward to lounging by the pool for a week literally doing nothing after the stress of the last month. We’re only in Murcia for the week, then all my friends are going back to London and for some reason I’m going to go travelling by myself for a few days. I plan mainly to go to Madrid. I am looking forward to it, but it is the first time I’ll be going travelling by myself… It is quite scary but at least it is only for three or four days and I have found a fantastic ‘party’ hostel, so that should be interesting!   

Also found out some interesting stats today about my blog... In total I have posted eleven times (excluding this one) and had over 600 page views! Neat, huh?! (Side tangent: does anyone actually use neat in that context anymore? I think more people should). How many of those page views are my lecturers checking up on what I’m saying about them or my family checking up what I am saying about them/doing with myself at university is yet to be seen…

Anyway, that was just a cheeky little update. I’ll try and post again before I jet off to Spain!

Peace.


DISCLAIMER: I would just like to point out that I pay for all of these little holidays and cool things I do by working ridiculously hard to try and finance my somewhat extravagant lifestyle – that and making perfectly good use of my overdraft… (Not that I would recommend that to anyone)

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Exams + I’m going on holiday! (Again)

Ahhh man, it’s that time of year when everything is drawing to a close and everyone is just looking
forward to finishing and embracing summer. Only one slight problem, before that can happen, first we must endure and hopefully past the dreaded exams.

Exams are a pain and that’s no lie. They were a pain at school, a pain at College and still a pain at University. Sadly unless you’re clever enough to choose to do a subject which is entirely coursework based and thus avoid exams, then you just have to suck up and deal with it.

University exams do differ massively from A-levels. Firstly, your exam is unlikely to be the only assessment you have for one subject. This means that by working out the scores you got in your coursework, you should be able to go into the exam knowing or at least having some indication of how you have done over all. This is reassuring, trust me. Because even if the exam and the questions asked turn out to be total poo, you know that it’s not the end of the world and even if you fail the exam, you probably will still pass the course. Neat eh?

Like many of my post, I think when it comes to exams is just to be clever and think about it. That might sounds redundant and obvious, but let me explain. Be clever about how much work you’re going to have to do in terms about revising, think about the best revising method which is suited to your learning style. See, it all makes sense now.


So as you can probably imagine, I’m currently in revision mode. I actually want to do my exams and get them over and done with, simply because I am so tired and god damn bored of revision! Once I've finished my exams I am finished for the year! Woo. To celebrate, I and some friends are going to Spain for a week. After which there all going back to London and I am spending an additional few days travelling round Spain by myself... which should be interesting!

I thought I’ll spend a little bit of time relaxing before having commit myself to spending the whole of the summer working full time to financially compensate for my somewhat lavish lifestyle.


So that’s just a little update for now and some advice from my perspective. I’ll check in, in a few weeks. Hopefully I’ll make it through exam season alive and unscathed. Wish me luck, yeah?

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Student Union Elections

Hello people, how are you?

Good, I am glad. I am also well. I have finally submitted all of my coursework! However unfortunately I still have exams to revise for, so sadly I am not totally free, at least not yet...

I still am however ridiculously busy still. This week in addition of working, starting revision, I also have family visiting which I have to entertain, fun. But no, that is me just being cynical and harsh; Of course it is nice to have family visiting, just at a very annoying time somewhat.

Anyway, in my previous blogs I have mentioned about the Student Union elections. In every university, the Students Union is a democratically elected body. Elected by students for students. This is the second year that I was involved in the elections. The first I was simply campaigning for my friend's political party, who I actually did think were the best people for the job. This year however I was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to run myself as a part time officer. I was elected Volunteering Officer by a majority and I am very happy with this position. As a part time officer, I will have this role in addition to completing my third year of study. What will I do as Volunteering Officer? Well, that is a good question. It is a new role that has only been introduced this year, so I don't really have any predecessors to compare myself to; which is good and bad I suppose. Nevertheless I do have a few things lined up and I am looking forward to getting stuck in.

Student Union elections are a fantastic opportunity to get further involved in your union and make an actual and positive change. It's neither as scary nor intense as you may thing, while having a good political understanding is helpful. The Union will support you by offering seminars and presentations about the elections to give you the best possible chance. Similar to a real election, you have to write your own manifestos, attend and speak at Candidate Question Times (also known as hustings) and have a limited amount of resources, so you have to be clever about the options you make.


To finish off, I would highly recommend getting involved in your Student’s Union. Never ever in your life will you have access to an organisation like this that exists purely for your benefit. So whether it’s working for them, helping run a sports team or the committee, or standing for election, it all benefits you! It gives you skills, opportunities and chances that you’re never get elsewhere in your life.


Monday, 24 February 2014

So it’s been a while….

Hello my friends!

I am so sorry that it has been so long since my last entry, I have literally been swamped! In addition to having to work (to earn enough money to offset my ridiculous expenditure), keep on top of university work (easier said than done), maintain commitments to sports teams, friends and family, and still fit in some sleep is a mighty challenge!

So just to catch you all up, in terms of uni work it’s been pretty hectic, at the moment it’s just one assignment after another and it’s just so tiresome! But I guess it all be worth it in the end  (or so he says). I am about to do a 4,000 word project on the Chislehurst Caves which should be fairly interesting and I got a first in my politics essay/presentation! If only I got similar marks in all my other courses…

Hockey fortunately hasn't preoccupied much of my time, fortunately we’re coming to the end of the season and not many games left... We did win our last game 22-0 though! Which was quite cool. 

I've also started to learn how to drive! Growing up in London previously I never needed too nor had the excess money to learn how to drive, but I thought I will while at university. Putting my loan to good use at least! And I haven’t seriously crashed or injured anyone yet, so going well!

It’s also election time in my SU, which is very exciting. Voting is very important as is the SU at any University. Details can be found here: http://www.suug.co.uk/elections2014/

Also, not to make you all jealous, I’m going to Rome next Thursday! I and my friend are visiting for a long weekend and I can’t wait. Just to escape the horrors and terrors of everyday urban life and just escape for an isolated weekend. Rest assured I will be posting excessive pictures and tales and such.

Finally, I must apologise again for how long it’s taken me to post another update, I will try and be better! But, because I know so many of you must be worryingly yourself silly, Eric is okay! Eric the office avocado plant is healthy, well, and striving. He even had a play date yesterday with a friend.


I’ll try post another update before Rome, if not, speak to you all soon!