16 Houses, 5 Primary Schools, and a New Job

IMG_0204As it goes, I will be writing several blogs for you all over the next eleven weeks. However, is it not important to know who the person on the other side of the screen is? In this article I will tell you a little bit about me.

Hometown
Originally, I am from Hackney, London. However, I have not spent my entire life there. Since I was a child I have moved from place to place, including to Cornwall, Hertfordshire, Ireland, and now Colchester. These moves mean that I have lived in a whopping 16 different homes throughout my 19 years on this planet! Some of you may be able to relate to this, but for those who cannot, it means you become an expert packer and cardboard box hoarder.

You may be wondering why I moved house so much. Well in simple terms I had indecisive parents, who continuously sought change. Ironically, after 8 or 9 years of this continuous movement, we ended up right back in Hackney, where I have remained until venturing off to university in 2016.

Education
Because of how much I moved around, I attended 5 primary schools. Two of them were based in London, the other three were in Hertfordshire, Cornwall, and Ireland. I was fortunate enough to stay in my secondary school, Edmonton County School, Enfield, for the whole of sixth form. I finished with 1 A*, 4 As, 4 Bs, and a C in French, which I am immensely proud of, although I can no longer speak a full sentence in French!

I am now at the end of my second year, here at the University of Essex. In line with the fluidity I have become used to, I have changed my course from when I first began here. Initially I started studying BA History with English Literature. But by the end of first year I was literatured out… So, I began second year as a straight history student.

Throughout my course I have studied modules from the history department, in addition to modules from other departments. If you have not looked at modules from other departments when making your enrol choices, I would highly recommend you do so. The change in topics and assessment is very enjoyable. In my politics modules I was able to engage in assessed debates, something I have not yet encountered in history modules. It was also an opportunity to meet other lecturers and students, who you can just learn an awful lot from.

Work
I have always been a busy bee. I feel lost without knowing I must be somewhere on a certain day or do something at a certain time. It has become ingrained into me over my teen years to work. Since last year I have juggled jobs alongside each other as it keeps me busy.

Recently I became a trained fencing instructor. This was for a job I took at an Easter camp for children. I can say that being targeted by 4-year olds with foam (but sturdy) foils was not my most enjoyable job experience, nonetheless it was fun.

Now I have taken on the role of Marketing and Student Recruitment Frontrunner for the History department. I chose to apply for this position for a number of reasons. Firstly, I knew it would look good on my CV after I graduate. Secondly, it gave me an opportunity to work within the department I was studying in, meaning I would have greater relationships with everyone in the department, which could only benefit me in the long haul. And lastly, I was not entirely sure what I was going to do with my history degree. Although we have had careers modules, I still did not know if the professions advertised to us would suit me. This Frontrunner position has given me the chance to see if I would enjoy working in an office-based environment, as well as allowing me to explore different writing opportunities, organise events, and give presentations to potential students.

You will be hearing more from me in – you guessed it! – more blogs, regarding events and opportunities in the department. I hope I have captured your interest. I’m excited for the work ahead!

 

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Why I Came to The University of Essex!

Alfie Holt, History student,  shares why he chose to come to Essex.

 

” …Essex is one of only five Universities in the UK who have funded programmes for seven –a –side Rugby”

 

”Originally, I moved to Louisiana, U.S.A on a four year scholarship to play rugby at Louisiana State University in Alexandria. That is where I began my journey as a History student. However, after a year I realised it wasn’t for me. Prior to moving, I had a conditional offer to study at the University of Essex and was contacted by Ben Jones regarding the rugby program.

As my first year came to an end in the States, I emailed Ben asking if I could join the program the following year.

Essex is one of only five Universities in the UK who have funded programmes for seven–a–side Rugby, I knew Essex was an unquestionable choice.

 

There is a wide variety of modules to choose from and for myself, who has a particular interest in American History, I felt confident in picking and studying the modules I had selected .

 

” I felt Essex suited me perfectly”

 

As I had already begun my History degree, and wished to pursue this further, I had to redo my first year as the module credits I completed in the States were insufficient to enter into the second year. However, the University, especially the History department gave me ample help by providing course pack documents, and additional assistance with personal tutors.

As well as this, the campus facilities was a major contribution to my choice. These included amenities such as the Albert Sloman Library, the 24hr newly-built Silberrad Student Centre and the vast fields  for sports like Rugby.

With both the sports and researchfacilities catering to my studies and passion for rugby, I felt this University suited me perfectly.

 

One of the personal factors which also swayed my decision was that I only live 40 minutes from the Colchester campus so it gave me the benefit of both being able to live independently, but the choice to travel to and from home as I pleased. It was almost as if, Essex knew what I wanted and catered to it. I’m happy now ”

 

–  Alfie Holt

 

Stress Management

Exams are nearly upon us and everyone is feeling the pressure. Months of lessons, coursework and revision have built up and this is the final push before the summer. I’m going to provide you with a few ways to help you to retain your sanity.

If you are a student you are most likely familiar with all of the following worries, but if you’re not then before you read this post and get the impression that university is terrifying let me clarify; it isn’t. 99% of the time it is the most fun and enjoyable time of your life, but like anything worth doing, it isn’t always easy. So here’s how to make that other 1% a little easier.

Don’t Stress…

…Just kidding. It’s perfectly OK to be stressed out sometimes by coursework or exams. Just remember that even though at times it doesn’t seem like it, everyone is in the same boat. You should also keep in mind that people deal with their stress in different ways. Just because someones seems chilled to you, they could still be secretly terrified of their coming exams. But even though it’s alright to worry, it isn’t pleasant. So just remember that everyone at your university wants you to succeed and will help in any way they can, and try the following to help you keep calm and carry on revising.

S1030056Breathe 

Sounds pretty straightforward doesn’t it? But sometimes it’s not that easy. After spending six hours straight in the library and draining your fourth cup of coffee, things can start getting to you. Just stop, take a few deep breaths, and look away from the books. It’s no good trying to power through your nerves, you’re not concentrating and can’t take in any information. Give yourself some time. Take a five minute break every half hour or so to keep your composure, check facebook, grab some food… It doesn’t really matter what you do as long as you give yourself a few minutes to wind down.

Exercise

Probably one you’ve heard before, but it works. Can’t be bothered to go to the gym or for a jog? That’s fine. A walk will do. Put your headphones in and drain out your fears with your favourite songs. Or visit the ducks, they’re always happy to see you (if you bring them food). Getting some fresh air is good for you and the little bit of exercise will help tire you out so you can get to sleep easier, however worried you are. S1030075

Plan

By planning out your time for revision you can know exactly where you are and how much work is ahead of you. That way you won’t end up in a panic a few days before the exam feeling totally unprepared. Also plan out some down time around your revision so you can relax.

Eat well

Think you don’t have time for good food? Think again. It’s important to keep your body working to the best of its ability. Any lack of decent food, water or sleep will affect you badly. Even more so when you’re worried. If you’re having some revision sessions, take some lunch, or schedule time to visit a restaurant.

Think Ahead 

It’s good to remember that this is only one step in getting your degree. You’re going to put in a lot of work to reach your end goal and every piece of work you do gets you one step closer. You will get there!

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Summer Time!

It’s coming towards the end of the academic year and if you really want to make your degree stand out, doing something during the summer is a must. Whether its paid work for a little more experience (and a little spending money for your summer) or volunteering. There are so many options available to you. But how do you get organised?

wp2First, you need to decide what you want to do, paid work, volunteer, apprenticeship?

Think about your priorities. If you are going to need money this summer, paid work is necessary, but it doesn’t mean you can’t do anything else. Take a week out to do a placement that will add to your work experience in your future career. And volunteering is highly flexible, you may be able to work something into your busy schedule.

Find your placement.

Next you need to do some research. Have a look yourself for options that are available in the area you will be living in over the summer, or if you’re having trouble, visit the employability and careers centre. Alternatively, take a look at What’s On? There you can find employment opportunities and free workshops on how to make an impression on an employer.

Tips

Even though its good to get experience, don’t spread yourself too thinly. Allow yourself some time to do some Uni work, as well as relax and enjoy your summer!

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Spring Cleaning

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The sun is shining- sort of- and it’s feeling a little more like spring. So maybe now’s a good time to have a clear out. One of the major problems faced by students when it comes to organisation is a lack of space, so here’s a few tips to help you clean up and also to maximize the space in your room so you don’t end up living in a pile of laundry and books.

First, the clean-up.

-Clean together

If you and your housemates all do the cleaning at the same time it will go much quicker, and a little music on in the background will make it much less of a chore. Also it’s easy to see if someone’s slacking on their cleaning duties. You can try a cleaning rota but having learnt from experience, this doesn’t guarantee it will be followed, nevertheless it could work for you.

-Cleaning wet wipes

These are your new best friend. Instead of taking forever to clean up the surfaces, a quick wipe and you’re done; great for kitchen, bathroom and bedroom surfaces (just make sure you buy them when they’re on sale).

-preventing mess

Although it may not be top on your list of priorities when you’re at Uni, a laundry bag hung on the back of your door means your room won’t be covered in unwashed clothes and that you can easily take your stuff to be cleaned.

Collapsible boxes are also useful, not only for books but for electricals that would otherwise be laying around all tangled up. They’re easy to store when not in use and really helpful when you move too.

Organising

laundry-443505 (1).jpg-wardrobe space

Shoe organisers can be bought fairly cheaply and just hang in your wardrobe out of sight. They make it easier to find shoes and free up the space that would otherwise be used for them.

Roll instead of fold. If you roll your clothes into small bundles not only are they less likely to crease, but take up less space and can be arranged on shelf space so you can see all of your clothes.

-wall/door organisers

These are made to either hang from the wall or over the door (but could easily go over the edge of a shelf) and are particularly useful for books.

You can also get small jewelry organisers that attach to the wall on hooks with stickers that are strong but easily removed (don’t want to lose any of our deposits!) and available in most department stores and decorating shops.

-desk space

Small desk organisers to keep all of your materials together instead of scattered over your work space are useful to have.

No desk? No problem. Lap trays are cheap and great for doing your work in bed on those days when you don’t feel like moving, or for doing some late night revision. It also means desk space could have other uses (like for a place to put those used cups you really need to wash instead of ignoring).

 

What to do with your degree

It’s a common misconception that the subject of your degree will limit you in your career choice. This may be true for some subjects, but not history.

A history degree is one of the most versatile. The analytical skills that you gain in history, as well as the project management skills you learn doing your final year dissertation are sought after by employers. We’re also great at arguing (but we knew that already), which is a necessary quality in many jobs; the ability to effectively put your point across, or deal calmly with a difficult customer are what will set you apart. On top of this is the problem solving, time management, and independent research skills gained in any good degree.

So what jobs can you get?

Retail, analysis, accountancy, banking, law, publishing, writing… there are so many possibilities.

Take a look at the Prospects website to give you an idea.

And to the people who don’t know yet, no problem! Take the quiz on their website to find out the perfect career for you.

University is also the time to gain valuable work experience in the field you are interested in. Take your degree and tailor it, and your experiences at Essex to the life you want to lead.

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To take away from the stress of considering your future, here’s a picture of the campus ducks!

 

Go Green Week!

So thglobal-303172is week is Go Green Week! We’ve already had everything from a Post-code coffee morning, Make a green Chinese New Year’s resolution, the Big bike sale and Dr. Bike to Green Games and an SU Swap Shop. So far this week has been pretty amazing!

The History Department is even getting involved in Go Green Week! We’re hosting a Stationary Amnesty where all of the staff have to return the stationary they’ve borrowed to stop the department from getting more which they don’t need. We’re also getting some thermometers for their offices to ensure that we’re keeping the radiators down.

Still to come this week is a Transport Stall, Waste Electrical items Amnestry, Lunch time bike ride, Film showing of Cowspiracy, Meat-free Friday, and Prizes for cyclists!

You can find out more about Green Week here

Tweet the History Department about what you’ve been getting up to in Go Green Week, even if it’s something as simple as putting your recycling out for collection or walking to campus!

Love Rosie x

 

Procrastination

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As you sit here knowing you have a hundred and one things you need to do, but just haven’t got around to yet, lets consider procrastination.

We’ve all been there. The deadlines are piling up, but so are the module readings, the clothes washing, the dishes, the amount of new films out that you want to watch… and somehow you never get around to doing what needs to be done- until the last minute.

Everyone does it, but we don’t have to. There are ways to stop those ‘just one more episode’ moments, and get your work done. You know that as much as you’d like to have one more scroll through twitter, that feeling of accomplishment when you know your work is done far outweighs it. Also it’s definitely not worth the stress when you have one week left to do 4 assignments.  So what do you do?

  1. attend the Overcoming Procrastination seminar on the 3rd February in the TBC at 2pm (and if you don’t go to Essex yet, see points 2+3)
  2. Plan, plan, plan! By designating a certain amount of time a project you are much more likely to get it done, and hopefully avoid procrastination. A way to make this even more effective is to plan study times with others, once you’ve set a date, you’re obligated to go.
  3. Also set out breaks. You need time to chill and let your mind recover from all of the work you’re doing. A recommended 10-15 minute break for every hour of work helps you to regain focus, as well as preventing eye strain and headaches if you’re staring at a computer screen. If you know you’re working towards a break hopefully you won’t put off doing your work.

Good luck!