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.
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!
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
Study afterwards depending on how much I got done during the day.
Take short breaks of fifteen minutes when required
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.
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.
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.
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
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!!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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!
Cheers Alura xx
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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.
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
Bed Linen (should buy up there but going to bring with me)
Laundry powder (buy up there)
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
Passport or driving licence
National Insurance number
CV and references
Bank account details
Other university documents
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)
Small knee cord
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)
Deodorant-choose roll on cause aerosol cans aren’t always allowed.
Computer and/or laptop
USB “pen drive” – Generally just use Google Drive but good for backups
Mobile and charger
Multi plug adaptor/extension lead – Used this so I can charge my phone beside my bed!
Slippers (handy for mornings)
Jumpers/hoodies (bring more up before winter)
Underwear (as many as possible)
Socks (as many as possible)
Jandals- for showers and for beach
Swimwear-bikini and sports togs
Ball gowns/eveningwear – for the Freshers’ Ball. Bring up later in year
Photos of family and friends-print heaps!
A fluffy blanket
Pins for corkboard
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
Female specific items
Make up (eye shadow, mascara, lip stick/gloss, eyeliner, foundation, etc)
Jewellery-this was mainly necklaces and earrings for me
Nail polish-I went a bit crazy with this and brought my ten favourites but I love painting my nails
Is there anything that you think I have missed out? What sort of things would you not have thought to bring which are included?
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.
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!