My 2017 Goals-July Anaylsis

This year was full of a lot of changes for me. I moved half way across the country to attend university, leaving behind my family, friends and boyfriend. I do not regret this for a second! I am so happy with the decisions I have made so far this year. However, at the beginning of the year, I was pretty worried. Hence why, I came up with a list of goals for the year. These aren’t measurable, and a lot of them aren’t goals that have a finish. They are just ways I wanted to improve myself. I’ll evaluate how I’m going here and set some plans up for the future.

 

Be More Confident

This was definitely something I wanted to work on this year, and I am getting better at talking to new people. However, I am most certainly an introvert, and it is obvious a lot of the time that I am not comfortable. This even extends to my friend group. There is a huge group of us and walking into a room they are all in can be nerve racking.  I can relax once I get in there and start talking to someone, but I have to encourage myself to go and socialise.

Continue reading “My 2017 Goals-July Anaylsis”

Preparing for my First Ever University Exams

I’m sorry I haven’t posted on here in awhile, things have been rather busy in my life. My last two weeks of university were a whirlwind of essays and tests, then it was exam time! These were my first exams at university, so needless to say I was stressing over them. They are all over now though!! What a relief!

I have had plenty of practice over the past month in preparing for my upcoming exams. Whilst this does not make me an expert in examination prep, it has given me a few ideas and tips. Just because these worked for me does not necessarily mean that they will work for you, though often you can adapt them to suit. So here is how I studied for my exams.

 

Know Your Exam Schedule!

My exams were really well spaced out. This allowed me plenty of time to study for one, do the exam, and then study for the other. I was really fortunate in this aspect, however this isn’t always the case. I even had one friend who had two exams on the same day! How unlucky can you get! It is super important that you know when your exams are and plan accordingly. Don’t be that person who doesn’t check their exam date and needs to ask their friends mere days beforehand. The location is super important too!! I always made sure I knew where my exam room was ahead of time so that I wasn’t stressing on the day. There’s enough stress as it is!

Use a diary to plan out your day’s study

Plan How You Will Study

Plan when you are going to study and stick to it! It is super easy to plan a rigorous study schedule a week in advance and then when the day comes it is much easier to sleep in till noon and watch Netflix in the afternoon. You don’t have time for that! Hold yourself accountable. Sometimes I will tell myself if I can get through a solid day of study then I can take the night off to relax and watch tv. Other times I will force myself to go to the library so that I am stuck in a studious location, away from my warm bed and secret chocolate stash to tempt me.

My daily study schedule

7.45am Wake up and prepare for gym

8.15-9.15am Cardio workout

9.30-10am Breakfast and get ready

10-12pm Study

12-1pm Lunch

1-5pm Study

5-6pm Dinner

Study afterwards depending on how much I got done during the day.

Take short breaks of fifteen minutes when required

Record your study in a diary like this one
Little Papeterie, 2017 Diary, $23.60, available on Etsy.

Plan What You Will Study

Look through past exam papers and check for any recurring themes. If it has been in there before, it is likely to be in there again. It is also super important to pay attention in class to themes that the teacher stresses. If the lecturer spends ages on a particular point, or even hints that it’ll be in the exam, I put a huge asterisk beside the note and make sure to learn it.

Our PASS leaders also advised us to go through each lecture and find the top five main ideas. These we were advised to learn by heart. While it is important to look through all notes and understand them, the key ideas are the most important part and those should be prioritised. If you have time to study absolutely everything in your course, then good for you, but for the rest of us, pick the important stuff.

Work out what days you will study what stuff and make sure you get it done. I spent far too long making cue cards on Quizlet, which were helpful, but meant I had less time to spend on other, more important study. Sometimes I would need to put in extra hours on a day to make sure I completely covered the topic. If you find yourself spending too long in one area, move on. Make sure to cover all material.

Study Alone and In a Group

There are pros and cons to each of these. I really enjoy studying in a group as it is fun, and it means I am less likely to turn to Facebook or give up altogether. You can also hold each other accountable to make sure you study each day. However, these sessions can quickly turn into social groups where we would talk a lot, but not get much study done. I recommend a mixture of both. Usually I studied by myself in the evenings and spent the day with my friends.

Group Study

You don’t necessarily have to study with people from the same class as you, but this can be useful! Make sure you appoint someone to keep everyone else on track. A method that works is you work for thirty minutes on and then ten minutes off. Some people recommend longer or shorter times, but this is what we found works best for us. However, a lot of the time we just study and talk as well which can be distracting but more fun. Study can be boring! For this reason, when studying in groups I find it more beneficial to study flash cards or practice tests so it is not so distracting if someone talks to you.

Individual study

During this study time I make sure to focus harder so that I don’t have to study for as long. This is when I take notes and memorise stuff, learning and relearning the material. I try not to take any breaks, since I have a habit of turning a two-minute break into two hours. I also don’t use music as I find it too distracting.

Studying with friends can be fun-just don’t get too distracted!

Have an Exam Day Plan

Know exactly what you will do on exam day and plan actions that you will take to make sure your day runs as smoothly as possible. Everyone is different so I cannot really help you here. You must know what helps you feel distressed and mentally ready. Sometimes it pays to do a practice exam day as well if you like.

My Exam Day Schedule

My exams were at 2.30pm so this is what my day looked like

7.45am Wake up and prepare for gym

8.15-8.45am Light Cardio-Exercise is supposed to be helpful on exam days to boost your memory, however I just like working out before exams anyway. Only do this one if you work out regularly (which you should) and take it easy.

9-9.30am Get ready

9.30-10am Breakfast

10-12pm Study

12-12.30pm Lunch

12.30-1.30pm Read over notes. Don’t try and learn anything new.

1.30pm Pack bag and relax

2pm Walk to exam room, arriving at 2.15pm ready to start at 2.30pm

So yeah, that’s how I prepared for my exams. How does everyone else like to study? Comment your tips down below so we can all help each other out. Now I’m off to relax because I don’t have to study anything anymore for two whole weeks!!

Cheers x

10 Items To Take Back to University After The Break

These last two weeks I have been able to relax at home over the mid-semester break. This has been fantastic. I have been able to see my friends again, my boyfriend and my family. Of course there have been many other perks too. These include my grandma’s amazing baking and access to stuff I don’t have in my dorm such as lemons. Unfortunately these things can’t last forever and tomorrow I am returning to university.

I packed pretty well the first time I went to university-you can check my packing list https://www.petitechai.com/2017/03/03/college-packing-list/. Despite this, there are a few things that I didn’t anticipate that I would need, and others that I left behind on purpose. So since I am returning to university, I am going through all of the remaining stuff in my bedroom, as well as the cupboards around home, and choosing what I am bringing back with me.

Take a look at these ten items that I am bringing back when I return to university after the break

Ten Items To Take Back To University

Unfortunately I am unable to bring a suitcase back with me. These take up too much room in the dorms, and it would be too difficult to bring on the bus. Plus I am far too unfit to be walking the twenty minutes from the bus stop to my dorm with a heavy suitcase, especially since its directly uphill. So I will be piling everything I am taking back with me into a large backpack. Read on for my list of ten items that I am bringing back to university with me.

  1. A large fluffy blanket

    I received an amazing throw from my grandma for Christmas. It is blue and fluffy and super warm!! Now that it is getting colder, I definitely want something for my dorm room to keep me warm. Blankets are amazing because you can use it on your bed, or wrap yourself up when it gets cold.

  2. Shampoo and Conditioner

    This is kind of a cheat because it is actually two items, but these things always go together anyway. I timed my shower product usage perfectly as I had barely any left when I got home. I’ve always believed in using good products in my hair, however this does make it slightly expensive so I am happy I can bring these back up with me.

  3. Ugg Boots/ Slippers

    When I am at home I live in these! However I didn’t think that I would use them when I got to university. How wrong was I! In the mornings, especially when I don’t need to get ready to go anywhere, I don’t like putting on shoes. It is so much extra effort. Plus I don’t like putting on socks unnecessarily when I am the one doing the washing. Having slippers to put on is going to be so much nicer than wearing jandals, which can be pretty cold in winter.

  4. Easter Eggs

    My mid-semester break coincided with the Easter holidays. This was nice because I got to be home for Easter. I have younger siblings so we always have an Easter bunny hunt. Aside from being pretty fun, this is a great way to stock up on chocolate for a chocoholic like me. I still have plenty left over so I am definitely bringing these back up with me. Can’t be letting one of my siblings have them now can we.

  5. Face Wash

    The first time I went up, I made the mistake of bringing with me a face wash that exfoliates your skin. While this is nice, and definitely good to use once or twice a week, you can’t use it everyday. As a consequence my skin got pretty oily because I didn’t have anything else to wash my face with. Since these things are pretty expensive, I decided to wait until I got home to grab my usual face wash, so I am hoping to keep my acne under control now. If anyone has any cheap, university dorm friendly acne remedies, please comment them down below. Much appreciated!

  6. Drivers Licence

    I was on the plane up to university back in February when I realised something major. I had forgotten my drivers licence! Luckily I had my passport to use as ID, however I would much rather have my drivers licence with me to carry round rather than my much larger, more valuable passport. I wasn’t able to get it before the mid-semester break so I am happy to have the chance to get it now. Lets hope I don’t leave it in my car again!

  7. Warm Sweaters

    I made the dumb decision to not bring my warm jerseys with me the first time I went up, believing it wouldn’t be that cold. Huge mistake! This time I am taking as many as I can. I absolutely love knitwear and jerseys though, and I plan to be purchasing a few more for the winter season, such as these cheap and comfy pieces from Sheln.com

  8. Basic Healthcare

    I am lucky that I haven’t got sick yet, however it can only be a matter of time. It is so much easier to bring all this stuff up with me, rather than to be purchasing it once I am already sick. Included in this list is tissues and Vicks, and I’ll bring a few more painkillers and sanitary items with me as well to restock my supplies.

  9. Birthday Gift

    While I was at home over the break, it was my friend’s birthday. As a birthday gift I am bringing her back some fancy body wash and an arty/design gift. Since she loves magic and fantasy as much as me, I decided to bring her back a unicorn card. It is for four year olds, but hopefully she won’t mind!

  10. Shoes

    I do a lot of walking at university. My daily average is 12,000 steps, with my record so far at 33,000. The consequence of this was that my shoes got wrecked. They were pretty old anyway, but I have worn the backs out of them now, so much so that there is a whole in the back! I will be purchasing two pairs of shoes to bring back with me after the break.

    Take a look at these ten items that I am bringing back when I return to uni after the break

So hopefully I’ll be able to fit all of this in my backpack to be coming back with me. If not I might just have to wear tonnes of clothes on the plane! I also have to fit my textbooks and laptop in there as well, and they are most certainly not light!

Wish me luck guys!

Alura xx

Overcoming Struggles in a Long Distance Relationship

My boyfriend and I are both rather shy, busy and indecisive people. The combination of these factors meant that unfortunately we began dating with only two months left of our final year of high school. Initially, I agreed to go out with him on the condition that we separated before I headed off to university. I didn’t want to do long distance. I had never been good at keeping in contact with people and I didn’t want to ruin the great relationship I already had. While initially we agreed on this, the date began to draw closer and my boyfriend began to make it clear to me that he wanted to keep our relationship. And, despite my worries and fears, I did too.

It hasn’t been easy. In fact there has been a couple of times where I have seriously considered breaking up. But we are still together and going strong. I’m writing this post to prove today that it is possible, but you have to be prepared to put in the time and the effort.

Here is what you need to do to maintain a long distance relationship.

Read on for my tips to make your LDR work
LDR’s are difficult! Heres my experiences and how I’ve learnt to make my relationship work.

Make Time For Communication

Communication is really important. Seriously. Of course the frequency of your communication depends on how busy you both are. You have to make time for it though. When I first moved to university I was super busy, getting to know everyone and enjoying my new freedom away from home. I admit that in that first week I neglected our communication quite a bit. However, previous to that I had been spending all day at home, waiting for my boyfriend’s occasional texts that he sent from work. So of course I was never going to respond with that frequency now. It was a change we both had to learn to accept.

How to do it

A lack of communication can lead to break ups. The other person will feel so far away and unreachable. So you have to make time for it. My boyfriend and I find that texting as often as we can throughout the day is the easiest way to keep in contact. However it is important that if you go this route then you tell your partner if you are going to be absent for a few hours so they understand. We also try and call at nights as often as we can, often on the phone for several hours.  I cannot stress how important communication is in a relationship. Work out what works best for your relationship but NEVER go a full day without some form of communication unless it is unavoidable and if so tell the other person in advance.

Stuck for an activity idea? Watch a movie and text
Technology is a great way to keep your relationship strong

 

Talk About Your Feelings

This was something I really needed to work on in our relationship. I like to come across as tough. If something is bothering me, I will just bury my feelings. We all know this is super unhealthy. Especially in a relationship. Your partner isn’t there beside you. They don’t know that you are upset unless you tell them. If they have done something you are not happy about, they cannot apologise or talk it over with you if they don’t know about it. There was one day that I was a little sad. I had gotten up early so that I could talk to my boyfriend on the phone, but he didn’t call for over an hour. When he finally did I was pretty unhappy. Initially, I tried to hide it. In the end I just told him and we could talk about it. We both promised to be more accommodating in the future.

How to do it

Whenever you are unhappy, no matter what it is, you have to tell your partner. Especially if it is evident in your texts or phone calls. If your partner has done something you don’t like, tell them! It is likely that they will not have realised, and this gives you the opportunity to discuss it together and reach a mutual understanding. Regardless of who or what caused it, telling your partner how you are feeling is a great way to grow closer together. I always feel so relieved after these sorts of conversations because I feel like my partner trusts me enough to confide in me, and we can approach this problem like a team. I promise you are not a burden to them! They want to know.

Always Be Honest

When you are not with your partner daily, they do not know what is going on in your life. So it can be easy to avoid telling them about areas that aren’t easy to discuss. An example of this occurred near the beginning of my time in university. I was out late with some friends and I started talking to another guy since we were the only two sober people there. I was tired and asked him to walk me back to my hall. A few days later he began texting me. He was friendly, so I didn’t want to be rude and ask him to stop, and in the short time that we were texting we only discussed casual university stuff. However, I still felt guilty, especially as I could tell the guy liked me so I stopped our conversation. I wasn’t sure what to tell my boyfriend. I didn’t want him to worry because nothing had, or would happen. In the end I just told him everything, showed him our texts and promised nothing had happened. I felt so much better afterwards and I feel like he trusts me more now.

How to do it

If you ever feel slightly guilty or uneasy about anything that has happened, then just tell your partner. Explain what happened thoroughly and answer any questions they might have. While it is really important that you never cheat or do anything to betray your partner’s trust, there are grey areas sometimes when nothing happened but you still don’t feel happy. When that happens just talk to them! Trust is key here. If your partner ever tells you anything, you must believe them and trust in their account unless you have good reason not to. And if you aren’t happy with their actions or their story, talk to them! Jealousy can break up relationships if you let it.

Find Ways To Connect

There are so many LDR resources out there for “date nights” and activities to try. My partner and I haven’t actually used any of these yet, however this is something I really want to do. It allows you and your partner to make memories and have fun together even though you might be hours away. Another way to form connections is  to constantly be searching for ways to meet up. If my boyfriend is going to be in my city for a couple of hours, of course I am going to go see him. Then during my holidays, I am going home, no matter what. It is important to make memories together because when you are alone and they are far away it is all you have.

How to do it

Check out LDR resources online for activities you and your partner can do together. Some common ones include 20 Questions or watching the same movie at the same time. Try to regularly have a date night where you call or video chat and have some fun together. The most exciting part of any Long Distance Relationship is when you finally get together again so you should constantly be searching for ways to make it happen. Be on the look out for cheap transport options or days off where you can see each other again. Mark it on a calendar and look forward to it! The most exciting part of a LDR relationship is when you can finally see your partner again!

Read on for my tips to make your LDR work
Click to Pin and refer to when you are struggling.

Good luck to all of you in a LDR relationship. I would love to connect with you all. Maybe you could comment down below and we could discuss other challenges that we have or ways to make everything easier. It definitely can be tough sometimes. For all those who are considering an LDR, I won’t pretend it is easy, and I won’t promise that you will succeed. But if you are committed enough and you follow the above rules, then you’ll be fine.

Cheers Alura xx

My first day of University!

How I Handled My First Day of College

I’m currently writing this at the end of my third week, and I must say that, on the whole, it has been a pretty good experience so far! My first day went really well which surprised me because, in the month leading up to it, I really psyched myself out. I was so worried that I wouldn’t make any friends, that the work would be too hard, that I wouldn’t be able to adjust to the new environment. Safe to say that none of my worries have happened! What a relief! I know lots of you out there will be in the same boat as I was, scared to go to university, wondering what it’ll be like. So here is an hour by hour look at my first day of college.

My first day of University!
So I am officially a university student!!

Timetable For My First Day

8.28am Wake up and shower. I don’t really spend too long getting ready in the morning, just shower, throw some clothes on and brush my hair. Unfortunately, I am too lazy to spend any more time than that. As long as I look decent I don’t mind. I envy those of you who can put the time and effort into looking good in the morning!

9 am Breakfast time! I had some muesli with tinned peaches and a hot chocolate. Breakfast has always been my favourite meal of the day so I always make sure to give myself plenty of time to enjoy it.

9.30am Left for the university. It takes ten minutes to get to class, and the walk was completely uphill, so I was pretty tired when I arrived!!

9.40am Arrived at the university. I expected to start chatting to people and make a few friends before my lecture started. This didn’t happen. Instead, I just stood there awkwardly. Not a great start!

10 am I was expecting an easy lecture….nope! Political science first and the lecturer went straight into it.  I found I really had to focus to keep up, and didn’t get all the notes down. The lecturer made it clear that he was taking note of those who was contributing, so I tried to get involved in the debate. I came out of that lecture feeling very overwhelmed, but I did really enjoy it!!

11 am Study Time! I went to the library to catch up on the notes I didn’t get and to clarify things I didn’t understand, so I felt caught up by the time I finished. Really enjoyed working in the library, especially since I didn’t really have time to go back to the hall between my lectures.

12 pm My second lecture was anthropology. Again I didn’t talk to anyone before we went into the lecture theater, which was disappointing. However, I ended up chatting for a bit to the guy I was sitting beside, who was quite nice. Anthropology seems quite chilled so I am looking forward to it. Left that class feeling better!

1 pm Back to the hall for lunch. It was such a relief to return to the hall amongst people I knew. I hadn’t seen any of my friends while at university so we all caught up on how our day had been so far.

2.10 pm My final lecture of the day was International Relations. I finally had a breakthrough in terms of my search for friends, in which I got to know the girl beside me pretty well.

3 pm Back to the library to do some study and make sure I understood all of the content well. I love the comfort of the library and although it is a bit busy in the afternoons, it is a great place to get some study done.

4 pm After finishing off my study at the library, I headed over to the gym. I only had time for a short workout, but it was so good to push myself.

5 pm Back to the hall for tea. As usual, the line was long, which gave us plenty of time to catch up.

6 pm No one had any study yet so we decided to watch a movie and just chill.

10 pm Headed back to my room and got ready for bed. Since I am in a long distance relationship, I always spend a few hours before bed texting my boyfriend. This gives us plenty of time to talk properly since we are both too busy during the day. Anyone else in a long distance relationship? Comment down below, I would love some tips on how to manage our relationship!

12 am Sleep time

It is crazy how quickly you adjust to a rhythm. I have loved my experiences so far. Looking back now, I find it so strange that I was so worried about going to university. I have an amazing group of friends, I love the stuff I am learning and I love my new city. Bring on the rest of the year!

My first day of University!
So I am officially a university student!!

Cheers Alura xx

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10 Little Ways to Be Healthier in College

We all struggle with living a healthy life once we get to university.  During the day we fill our days with schoolwork and socialising, which leaves little time to hit the gym. Plus as fun as it is to go out at nights, your sleep and health can suffer. To avoid the weight piling on, I’ve compiled a list of ten little ways to be healthier in college. While these tips alone will not turn you into a glowing fitness guru, they can keep you feeling good and stop the weight from piling on. Little by little, a little becomes a lot. So try and incorporate these things into your life and you’ll be feeling healthier and happier!

1: Give Yourself Time in the Mornings

As much as we might want to set our alarm clocks as late as possible to give ourselves maximum sleep time, all that stress in the morning is not good for us! Sit down and plan out exactly how long you need to get ready in the morning, and then add an extra ten minutes to that.

Health Hack

While it might be tempting to immediately switch to a 5am start, if you are unused to this, then you will be left feeling sluggish and tired. Not a great way to begin a healthy habit. Instead, try and push back the time you wake up by fifteen minutes each day till you reach your prime wake time.

2: Get out of bed

It might be tempting to lie in bed for ages, repeatedly snoozing your alarm clock, but this does not make getting out of bed any better. Instead try and get up the moment your alarm goes off. Some people find leaving their phone on the other side of the room to help this, however I have got used to getting up at my first alarm so I do not need this, but by all means, go ahead if it works for you.

Health Hack

Try using an alarm clock which monitors your sleep cycle to wake you up at your best point. I use the Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock App by Northcube AB which I have really been enjoying. They also have a sleep analysis function so you can see how well you slept. (By the way I have not been sponsored to write about this app or anything, it is genuinely an app I have been using for several months and really like.)

3: Start the day with water

Since we are not drinking water during the night, we wake up dehydrated, which is not a great start to the day. Try to fix this by leaving a large glass of water or a drink bottle beside your bed. That way, you can start hydrating once you get moving. I found this difficult to start off with, cause I generally did not like drinking water in the mornings. However I just kept at it, and now I crave water when I wake up in the mornings.

Health Hack

You don’t have to try and drink a lot of water right away. In fact this can actually be bad for you if you immediately try and drink a tonne of water. Instead try and continually sip water throughout the morning,

4: Eat A Good Breakfast

This one I have really struggled with since coming to university because of the choices available. At home I used to set aside time to make porridge with chia seeds and almonds, which I would then add almond milk, frozen raspberries and Greek yogurt to. It was delicious! Here, I have instead gone for the muesli option, which I add trim milk and canned apricots to. Scout out the options and choose one which is low in sugar, high in protein and leaves you feeling full. Coffee by itself does not count!

Health Hack

An average breakfast is better than no breakfast. If your college only offers toast, choose a grainy bread and use a low sugar spread. While peanut butter can be good for this, I personally am not a fan so I generally use vegemite instead. Stay away from the Nutella!

5: Incorporate easy exercise

Try and find ways to get a little extra exercise into your day without going crazy. Take the long way to class. Do calf raises while you are standing (I often do this when I am brushing my teeth.) Maybe make it a rule that before you leave for class each morning you do 100 star jumps. I am even a massive fan of fidgeting, because it is such an easy way to add movement to your day. Finding little ways to add exercise to your day can really make a difference, especially on days where you have a hectic schedule.

Health Hack

The step counting app on my phone is a great motivator for me. Check on it regularly to see if you have cracked the recommended 10,000 steps a day, and if not, try and go for a short walk around the block, or even just march on the spot in your dorm room.

6: Have Snacks Available

This is one I am terrible at. I never feel like going to the grocery store and spending money I don’t have on food, nor can I be bothered taking fruit from the dining hall at mealtimes. Then I get hungry between meals which can lead to overeating and then feeling terrible after. Don’t do this! Grain crackers, fruit, nuts, plain popcorn,

Health Hack

I have a notorious sweet tooth. While I do not recommend stocking up on hundreds of chocolate bars to gorge yourself on, I am an advocate for having dark chocolate in my dorm room. Not only does this allow me to satisfy my sweet cravings without ingesting a lot of sugar, it also means that I don’t go for heavy desserts or junk food options when they are available because I know I have chocolate back in my dorm.

7: Plan to workout

You schedule your college classes. So why not schedule in a workout. Sit down the night before and look at what times you are able to workout. I understand this involves a bit of planning, but it is the key to successfully fitting in a great workout. This can involve a bit of work on your part, either by going in the morning or rearranging the times you usually study, but it is totally possible. Try and encourage your friends to attend fun group exercise classes, or to workout with you. Not only does this way combine exercise and socialising but it holds you accountable for the times you’d much rather stay in your room watching Netflix.

Health Hack

Aim for at least some exercise every day. It doesn’t have to be a two hour long bike ride, sometimes you can only fit in a short session and that’s totally okay! HIIT training is great for this because you only have to exercise for a small amount of time, but you go hard during that time. Using a skipping rope is another fantastic option for when you don’t have much time. For a person my weight, I only need to skip for 12 minutes a day to burn 100 calories!

8: Always have vegetables on your plate

I always make sure to have veggies on my plate at lunch and dinner. Sometimes there are already vegetables in the main option the dining hall is serving, but regardless I like to add salad to my plate. Not only does it help you get that recommended serving of vegetables in each day, but it also makes your plate look better.

Health Hack

Try and load your plate up with vegetables before you add anything else. Vegetables are better for you and contain less calories than the other options, so try and fill half your plate with veggies. When having salad, go for the cucumber and tomato slices over the iceberg lettuce which has no nutritional value.

9: Leave the dessert options as a treat

I know how tempting it can be to just go for that slice of chocolate cake. Everyone else is eating it. Some people even take a second helping. It is okay to indulge occasionally, but this should not be a regular thing. Leave it as a treat. For me, I allow myself to have a treat in the dining hall three times a week. This is probably still more than I should be doing, however if I have had a few really good days where I have done a good amount of exercise, ate healthy, drunk heaps of water and got in my recommended hours of sleep then its totally okay to indulge in the dessert….just don’t go crazy!

Health Hack

Go for the healthier option. Choose desserts that have an element of heath to them such as fruit or dairy based desserts over heavy carb options. Apple crumble, fruit tarts or vanilla ice cream are much better option than chocolate cake or brownie. If you really must indulge in something unhealthy, go for a smaller portion and eat slowly to savour it!

10: Go to bed at a reasonable hour

It happens to all of us. We begin messaging friends, or on YouTube or finishing that assignment last minute and next thing you know, its 2am and you have to be up again at 7am. Try to get the recommended 6-8hrs of sleep each night, and make sure you know what time you need to be asleep by to ensure this. Keep an eye on the time, or even set a timer so you know when you need to start getting ready for bed.

Health Hack

I know that I need more sleep than most people, so I aim to be in bed by midnight each night, which gives me a full eight hours. Listen to your body! If you are feeling especially tired that night, make sure to get to bed a bit earlier. Your body will thank you in the morning.

So there we have it! Ten little ways by which to make you feel happier and healthier each day. Let me know in the comments if there are any other small things that you do each day to keep healthy.

A must read list of items that I actually brought to college

My College Packing List

In the months leading up to university, I read a lot of college packing lists on other blogs. I was so excited to begin purchasing all these “must have” items. The truth is though, you are a broke college student. You don’t have the money to invest in this sort of stuff, especially when you don’t actually need it. On the other hand, there are some things that life would be very difficult if you happened to leave them behind. So read on below to see what I packed for college.

A must read list of items that I actually brought to college
Here is a list of everything I brought to university

NB: I flew to college which means that I had to purchase a lot of stuff once I got to my university, hence why some items have (buy up there) beside them. Depending on whether you have these things or not, and how you are getting to university you can choose whether you pay attention to these things. Also my dorm provides communal mini fridges, TVs and microwaves among other things which is why they aren’t listed.

Must Bring to University

Living

  • Bed Linen (should buy up there but going to bring with me)
  • 2 Towels
  • Mugs
  • Teaspoons
  • Tea towels
  • Laundry powder  (buy up there)
  • Headphones
  • Laundry bag-would recommend basket
  • First Aid Kit-just threw together some plasters and painkillers
  • Torch-should get for emergencies but haven’t got round to it.
  • Coat hangers – I brought twelve but I needed at least another 5

Documents

  • Passport photos
  • Passport or driving licence
  • National Insurance number
  • CV and references
  • Bank account details
  • calendar
  • Other university documents
  • Exam certificates

Studying

  • Diary/planner – turns out my uni has free ones. Still like mine though.
  • A pad of lined paper – for making notes/doing drafts etc (buy up there)
  • A4 folders (buy up there)
  • Pens, pencils, paper, files, highlighters (buy up there)
  • Scissors (buy up there)
  • Sticky tape (buy up there)
  • Stapler, hole punch (buy up there)
  • Sticky labels (buy up there)
  • Post-it notes (buy up there)
  • Paper clips (buy up there)
  • White Tac – so it doesn’t mark the walls (buy up there)

Sports gear

  • Jump rope
  • Stretch matt
  • Cords
  • Small knee cord
  • Raincoat
  • Umbrella
  • Sports shoes

Bathroom

  • Basket for shower supplies (buy up there)
  • Box of tissues (buy up there)
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Soap –  (bottle) soap is probably better. If you’re sharing bathrooms then it’s easier to transport
  • Showergel (buy up there)
  • Shampoo/Conditioner (buy up there)
  • Nail clippers
  • Deodorant-choose roll on cause aerosol cans aren’t always allowed.
  • Hairbrush
  • Comb
  • Razor
  • Lip balm

Electrical

  • Computer and/or laptop
  • USB “pen drive” – Generally just use Google Drive but good for backups
  • Mobile and charger
  • Camera
  • Headphones 
  • Multi plug adaptor/extension lead – Used this so I can charge my phone beside my bed!

Clothing

  • Dressing gown
  • Slippers (handy for mornings)
  • T-shirts
  • Jumpers/hoodies (bring more up before winter)
  • Sweat pants
  • Underwear (as many as possible)
  • Socks (as many as possible)
  • Shoes
  • Jandals- for showers and for beach
  • Swimwear-bikini and sports togs
  • Ball gowns/eveningwear – for the Freshers’ Ball. Bring up later in year
  • Dresses
  • Heels
  • Cap
  • Sunglasses

Room Deco

  • Posters
  • Photos of family and friends-print heaps!
  • Wall hanging
  • A fluffy blanket
  • Fairy lights
  • Pins for corkboard

Miscellaneous

  • Chocolate-I have a huge sweet tooth
  • Snacks-for when the dining hall isn’t open
  • Extra storage – better to get to room to see if you need any
  • Travel bag- to put things in when going home for the weekend
  • Earplugs
  • Safety pins

Female specific items

  • Hair Ties/clips
  • Make up (eye shadow, mascara, lip stick/gloss, eyeliner, foundation, etc)
  • Jewellery Boxes
  • Jewellery-this was mainly necklaces and earrings for me
  • Moisturiser
  • Nail polish-I went a bit crazy with this and brought my ten favourites but I love painting my nails
  • Hair dryer/straightners
  • Tampons/pads
A must read list of items that I actually brought to college
Here is a list of everything I brought to university

Is there anything that you think I have missed out? What sort of things would you not have thought to bring which are included?

    

 

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Here is my experience with move in day and the tips that will help yours run smoothly

Tips for College Move In Day

Today the day that I was both dreading and looking forward to arrived. College move in day. I am a rather shy individual myself so I was far more worried about the social side of things than actually the unpacking part. I was so worried that I only turned up an hour before the first meeting. Desptie this it actually went pretty well and I’m feeling happy about today! Read on below to hear my move in day experience and let me share my tips and tricks that I learnt.

Here is my experience with move in day and the tips that will help yours run smoothly
Move in day can be scary. Here’s how I handled it

Pre Move In Day Jitters

Everyone has them. Especially me! This morning I was looking at heaps of confidence pins and move in day stuff on Pinterest. The moving in was not what worried me, it was all the scary social stuff that comes from not knowing a single person in your hall! When these strike, its best to just take your mind off it. Go have breakfast for your family, do some exploring in town, read a book you like or a YouTube video you find funny. Just don’t dwell on your nerves. Trust me. It’ll go okay!

When to Arrive

Blogs often say to arrive as early as possible. I get that some of you might need all the time to unpack, but personally I didn’t! While I was originally planning to give myself two full hours to unpack rather than one, I found I got most things done in the first half hour.

Think about how much time you need before you come. Some people liked to unpack early then leave to get stuff and have lunch, which was probably a better option. Discuss with your move in buddies (in my case it was my parents) a way that will allow you to get everything done in a low-stress environment. Personally I did not want to be stuck in my room with only my parents for company for six hours! There is also plenty of time to finish unpacking later, so I wasn’t too worried

Transporting your gear

For those using a car to get to Uni, your experience will be very different to mine. I had no choice but to fly to uni, which meant packing everything into three suitcases. This made my move in very simple. All we had to do was pull the suitcases into my room, and voila. All done. It was very lucky I was on the ground floor though, otherwise it would not have been this simple!! Really pitied those who had to make tonnes of trips with boxes. Not fit enough for that!

Most of you will use boxes to get to Uni. But don’t be afraid to use suitcases either. Just try and ensure that your family can take them back when they leave, otherwise there isn’t much room!

Unpacking

This was relatively quick for me cause I didn’t bring much stuff with me. Always scout around the room before you start unpacking, so you know what you want to go where. This saves unpacking stuff, only to transfer it somewhere else a few minutes later. Try and make things tidy, fold clothes and arrange products, which makes the room instantly more comfortable. Don’t worry if you don’t get it all done right away, there will be time later!

Decorating

I will be continuing to add to my dorm room throughout the year to personalise it. At the moment I am really jealous of those who decorated their room at the beginning. Photos and cool quotes can really brighten a room and make it feel more like home.

Socialising

This was, by far, the part I worried about the most! How would I talk to people? What if they didn’t like me? What if everyone else formed groups except me?

I can assure you now, and I know you won’t believe me, but it does go okay! Not super amazing, met my best friend for life, but I am happy with how it went and there are lots of people I want to pursue closer friendships with.

Tips for Socialising

  1. Leave your dorm room open –now this one wasn’t particularly effective for me since there were only a few people on my floor. It did mean that when it got closer to meal times, I would see someone leaving and ask to join them. An open door is also a great way to know that someone wants to chat!
  2. Work out who you want to approach – As a shy introvert, I found myself most comfortable approaching the girl sitting by herself. In turn we attracted a fair number of other girls which was pretty fun! I also knew I wanted to get to know the people on my floor, so I approached a couple of them and they all seem pretty friendly. Lets hope I get a few friendships there!
  3. Talk to other people too! This was a learning curve for me, cause I decided to not approach a girl walking beside me because she seemed a bit intimidating. Five minutes later she joined my conversation with another guy and it turned out that we had the same major! So lesson learned! Approach everyone.
  4. Get out there-its all about going up and chatting with people. Ask the typical questions (Where are you from? What is your major?) and be super smiley and open. There was one girl I approached who seemed okay, but she kept her arms crossed the whole time! Not a great vibe.
  5. If it doesn’t work out, you have time- You aren’t going to find your BFF on the first day. So relax, and if you’ve made a few connections, then great!
Here is my experience with move in day and the tips that will help yours run smoothly
Move in day can be scary. Here’s how I handled it

So yeah my first day went pretty well and I’m excited for what the future will hold! I was really scared beforehand, but it all turned out well. What was your move in day like? Let me know in the comments down below!

Cheers, Alura

Why I chose a Uni 17 hours from home

5 Things to Consider When Choosing A Uni

Growing up in my small city, it was always expected that we would attend nearby university or the local institute of technology. There were two major universities near my home town. One was two hours away, the other was eight. The vast majority of students from my home town went to one of those, or stayed at home to study or work. To the disappointment of my parents, I picked a uni seventeen hours from my home city. Here’s why I did it.

Why I didn't choose the university closest to home

1. I loved the city

Now don’t get me wrong, Wellington is not the only city I like in New Zealand. But it is one that has made an impression on me ever since I first visited with my family. I love the culture and identity of Wellington.

what to consider

When you pick a city to study in, it is imperative that you choose one that you like. You will be spending the next few years in this city, and it will provide many memories for you. You will be spending a lot of time in the bars, parks, cafes, shops and whatever else the city has to offer. It is important that the city has locations that you can enjoy spending time at. Of course you will not know of those places beforehand, but you must see the potential in a city to become your home.

2. It fitted my degree well

I am studying Political Science and Anthropology. Politics and Culture. What better place to learn these subjects first hand than the capital of New Zealand where I could see this in action everyday. Not only would this city give me real life experiences to compliment my degree, but it also increased my chances of getting a job after my study. Now as every student knows, that is important!

what to consider

While there may not be a particular city that better suits your degree, it is important to look at how well your university is ranked for your degree as well as for future job prospects. When tossing up between universities, this is an important factor you need to consider because while it might not make or break your career, it could certainly make it easier or harder for you to pursue your career.

3. I liked the identity of my Uni

Here’s one thing you’ll learn about me, I’m an introvert. On a Friday evening I am happy to stay at home reading a book than to go out partying. And when I do go out, cause I do like to occasionally, I like to be in a controlled environment where I feel safe and where nothing particularly crazy is happening. I don’t mind other people drinking, I don’t mind loud music or couples getting physical. But the moment there’s a crazy fight or hundreds of people show up or everyone is completely wasted, then I feel uncomfortable and want to get out of there. The university near my home town was infamous for being a party university, and that was not the sort of culture I wanted to get involved in. Victoria, while I’m sure has crazy parties as much as any city, did not have that reputation. And I liked what I had heard and seen about Victoria Uni, both from their advertising and when speaking to other people.

what to consider

When picking your university, you want to pick somewhere that is a good fit for you. Of course it is possible for any student to survive and even thrive at any university, but do take the reputation of your potential university into consideration when making your choice, especially if you really don’t like the one the university has. However it pays to speak to students who go there to understand how good/bad the Uni actually is because it could be much exaggerated.

4. It was a long way from home

This may sound crazy for a lot of you, but one of the reasons I chose Wellington was because it was a long way from home. I love my family, I love the friends I have at home, and I do love my home town. But I wanted to escape. I wanted to move away where I had to force myself to branch out in a city where I knew only a couple of people. This was also the chance for me to develop my identity, to move away from the person I had been in high school. This is not for one minute to say I did not like that person. I am proud of who I was then, but that is not the same person I want to be now. Plus there was a small part of me that didn’t want to stay too near my home town. I’d receive frequent requests to go home, which was not what I wanted in my university experience.

what to consider

Are you someone that craves home comforts and family time? Or do you prefer to flee the nest and travel? If you will want to return home often, you will have to pick a university near home. But if don’t mind going months without seeing your family, then feel free to look further afield. One note of caution. In the beginning I planned to move away and seldom return. But this was before I got a boyfriend. As a result I am committing to a long distance relationship where we will seldom see each other. Would I have chosen a university closer to home if I had become involved with him earlier? Not sure. It is thinking about anything that might make you regret your decision.

5. I did it for me

I had been tossing up between the nearby uni and Wellington for some time. In the end I asked myself why I wanted to go to a closer university. The honest answer was that it would please my family. This was not good enough for me. Of course I love my family, but this is my life and I was not going to settle for my second choice to please my family. Furthermore, I am looking at a career which will involve lots of travel. If I wasn’t willing to do it while I was studying then when?

what to consider

Where do you really want to go? Where is the best place for you? Make it happen!

Why I didn't choose the uni closest to home

 

Good luck with your studies guys.

Cheers, Alura xx