So You’re Starting University…

It finally happened. After all of the insanely late nights spent working on your UCAS application, then checking your offers and emails, all while juggling the stress of revising for how many exams again?! You’ve got your place, and in September, you’re off to University. Well, as perfect as finally getting started may sound, you need to be aware of some of the things that no one tells you about starting uni. Nope, these tips I’m about to share aren’t in any handbook, on any brochure or mentioned on any open day.

So today I’m going to save your life, and give you my top 7 tips for your first semester at university.

Tip #1

Establish your own rules

If you’ve moved into halls it can seem incredibly exciting. You’re finally away from your parents and siblings, and have room and time to yourself. Wrong! You need to establish the rules between you and your dorm pals. You can’t let everyone in at 3am for the first month and then when you’ve got work up to your ears, lock everyone out with nothing but a sassy note left on the door.

Tip #2

Discount

So many places accept student discount nowadays that you need to shop around more. I know  I know, you love the mac & cheese that your mum always made you with ingredients exclusively from Waitrose, but girl, this is university and you can’t shop at Waitrose any more. And for the rest of you that can’t wait to live like a student and have nothing but takeaway all of the time, I’ll tell you a secret, the Co-op accept NUS cards. There you go, this is a majorly unknown fact, so you have absolutely no excuse for having stale pizza for breakfast for the third day in a row.

Tip #3

Wash Up After Yourself, Dammit

There are two types of people that live in halls. Those that feel like they’ve met their friends for life, and therefore don’t mind doing everyone’s washing up, every night, for an entire year, and those that leave their dishes to be washed by someone else, every night, for an entire year. To stop the former from having a breakdown and eventually turning on the latter, and attacking them with a spork on the final night of the first year, just do your own washing. If everyone does their own, everyone’s gets done and no one has to cry.

img_8432Tip #4

Being A Grown Up Isn’t So Bad

I know you may think that you can only understand the washing machine and cookbooks once you’ve finished your degree, but trust me, nothing is as difficult as it seems. Those big buttons on the front of the washing machine are literally self-explanatory. “Colours? Wtf does that mean?!”

Tip #5

Leave It, Lose It

You’ve got to be careful with your stuff, because whatever you leave in a public area, will become public property. Unless it is locked in your room, it is no longer solely yours. Yep, even if you have your name on it. Even your tub of your moisturiser is now for the random guy that stayed over in your friends room last night…

Tip #6

Sign Up, Level Health Up

It seems to be a right of passage that everyone gets freshers flu, the important thing is to know the difference between freshers flu, and still feeling unwell at the end of the first semester. Make sure you sign up with the local doctors surgery at university, otherwise if you do get ill in the future, you’ll be stuck with your friends staying away from you and people pointing at you from across the street. There will still be doctors in the town of your uni, they are still not allowed to talk about you to anyone, everything is the same, so sign the hell up!

Tip #7

It’s Nothing Like This

Finally, you’ve gotta realise that university is going to be nothing like you imagine it to be. It’s not going to be scary and intimidating, but it’s also not going to be insane party after insane party with everyone going wild, not if you don’t want it to be. It’s still a new environment, so people will be feeling their most vulnerable. Some people will compensate by being louder and more outrageous than they normally are, and some will hide in the corners and backs of the room. Gravitate towards those are acting how you are feeling; those are your friends for life.


Those are my top 7 (not to be taken seriously) tips for your first semester at University. I hope these tips help some of you guys out, and remember, don’t worry about starting uni, it’s going to be fine. You’re going to make some of the greatest memories and friends of your entire life, enjoy it all.

Mindfulness In Mental Health

Today I wanted to cover something that I’ve been wanting to talk about for quite some time, but I couldn’t quite figure out how to talk about it. Every time I decided to set aside some time to write about this, I felt myself feeling like I was going about it the wrong way. Essentially, I told myself that I wouldn’t write this post, until I had found a way to write it in a style which could help people, and not just draw attention to problems, without at least attempting to share some ideas on how to handle them.

Now to start out with, I’d like to mention how happy I am to feel comfortable talking about this, and how proud I am that we as a generation are striving for the disappearance of stigma, and openness in regards to mental health. Now I’m not entirely blind to the fact that we still have a really long way to go before there is absolutely no stigma surrounding mental health and everyone feels they can be open about how they’re feeling, but I feel that we will vastly progress if we are unapologetic and each individually open with our struggles.

We have the power to make this a topic of discussion. We have the power to make people think. We have the power to create needed change.

So today I want to share something that has really improved my life, and that’s bringing mindfulness into your life. Mindfulness is defined as “the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something”. I can only speak from my own experiences, but using mindfulness in my day to day life has vastly improved how I feel.

Essentially I have found that by doing the following things, I feel much better, more present and relaxed.

Mindfulness of your breathing | I didn’t want to just share tips that can only be done when you’re at home, or have a lot of free time, so this one is perfect for if you’re feeling anxious or trapped, or having a difficult time in a situation that you cannot remove yourself from, bringing your attention to your breathing can be a quick way to slow your heart rate down and clear your mind. Try and focus on taking longer and deeper breaths, holding it for roughly 2 seconds.

Mindfulness of your activity | I know, that is just a sly way of saying exercise. Now trust me, I am not one for crazy exercise routines, so I’m not going to recommend spending 3 hours in a gym 3 nights a week, because I know that doesn’t work for everyone. For me personally, I just try to go for a walk or a light run if I’ve noticed that I’ve been inside for too long. Your body will let you know if you need some fresh air, it’s all about listening to it.1Mindfulness of your surroundings/influences | If you take a step back from whatever it is that you’re doing, take a moment to evaluate whether or not it’s benefiting or bettering you in any way. If you’re surrounding yourself with negative people, and find yourself watching and listening to negative things, those things will affect your mood, and your approach to everyday life. I know it’s so easy to say ‘cut those things out of your life’, whereas the reality is that it is incredibly difficult. But believe me when I say you’ll be infinitely aware of how much more positive you feel about your present and future.

Mindfulness of your diet | Again, I am not one for diets, be they fad or not. I just think it’s important to listen to your body when it comes to what you’re eating and drinking. By all means, eat chocolate if you’re craving it, allow yourself a cheat day if you are dieting and you want a cheat day. The best piece of advice I could give anyone is to simply drink as much water as you can. That, and sugar free lemonade is life changing, you won’t believe how decreasing a little bit of sugar in your diet can clear your mind and make you feel fresher and better rested, as opposed to the harsh ups and crashes of caffeine and sugar.


Thank you guys so much for reading this post, it means a lot to me that you guys read my stuff. I am so grateful to the blogging community for being so uplifting and supportive, it truly is a place where I feel I can be open about anything I want to discuss.

Please leave any tips you guys have for picking yourself up because I think it’s always helpful to hear a range of tips from different people.

The Truth Behind Being A Journalism Student

As some of you guys might know, I’m currently studying Journalism at University. As I said in my personal statement, I never really knew exactly what I wanted to be when I grew up, and I never had a particular plan, such as most of my friends did. So when it came to making this huge decision in my life, I felt quite overwhelmed. Going to University always seemed like the most obvious (and sometimes only) choice I had. So when the time came that I had to narrow down my choices, I always knew that I like working with people, as opposed to always working alone, so it had to be a course where I’d be interacting with others and not just studying on my own, and then I realised, I never felt more relaxed, or like I was doing something that was really meant for me, than when I was presenting the Sixth Form Entertainment. Sixth Form Entertainment was a ‘show’ that sixth formers that wished to, put together. It consists of sketches and parodies of famous events from the year, starring the students and our teachers. It was then that I realised that I’d love nothing more than presenting. It didn’t matter the style of show, I just really enjoy working and with other people in a creative setting. Therefore the most natural route for me to follow was either drama, or Journalism, and due to how much I enjoy writing, directing and producing pieces just as well as the ‘performing’ aspect, Journalism became more and more appealing.

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Now when I joined University, I still felt very out of my depth. As if I was only ever visiting, and not like I belonged. Everyone seemed to have prior knowledge and experience in Journalism, and I had only just finished my academic subjects at Sixth Form. I realise now that most of my anxiety and stress stemmed from the fact that I had been living the same routine for 7 years, and this major life change, was the real cause.

With what I know now, I never would’ve imagined so much of what I’ve created and achieved coming. Naturally, I expected to be constantly writing, which I now realise might have lost it’s novelty very quickly. I never expected myself to know how to use a green screen, what the heck a tricaster even is, the fact that I’d have a conversation with my mum over a rifle mic, getting to give an entire presentation on psychics and the psychic industry, and that I’d actually get the opportunity to work with such creative and aspiring people. I absolutely adore what I’m doing now, and I couldn’t imagine my life taking any other direction. It all feels like every little detail, held things I never knew I was passionate about.

Just some of the things I’ve learnt, is that the news is now more in our hands than ever before. News can come from any source, and it’s instantaneous. You yourself could attend an event, hold up your camera phone, record footage and upload it to YouTube (with a good connection) with a brief write-up, within 10 minutes! It’s no longer a weekly newspaper, it’s a tweet. We don’t rely on the news at 6, it’s now produced as a 24 hour, live coverage.

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Everyone I know has told me that they can see a big change in who I am, and the best part is, I didn’t even know how much I’d love spending time, doing all of these things that I’m learning, in my personal life too.


So my advice to anybody who is currently going through the stress of exams, or if you still don’t know what you’d like to pursue, is to stay true to yourself. Don’t do anything for anyone but YOU. And keep your passions in mind! As I said, I never expected to be doing what I’m doing, but I also know no other path would feel so right. Don’t abandon your dreams just because you need to choose a subject quickly, and you already take the subjects for it. University is NOT the only option you have, and there are endless sites that can give you advice as well as your teachers. Everyone has their own story to tell, their own path to forge. You do not have to follow in any one else’s footsteps.


More importantly, here are some cheesy quotes that will hopefully really help you to break away from the idea that you have to do what everyone else is doing, and hopefully inspire you to be different.


“Every day create your history
Every path you take you’re leaving your legacy”

“Maybe a reason why all the doors are closed
So you could open one that leads you to the perfect road”


My personal inspiration comes from Derren Brown (audience gasps, shocked, perhaps some faint?). As he has said before, it might not feel like it right now, but when you’re older, it’s always the popular, pretty girls, and popular athletic guys, who go on to have the most boring jobs, because they never had to forge their own identity when they were younger.

(I’ve transcribed Derren’s speech below because unfortunately Channel 4 have had it removed from YouTube)

“If you are a bit of a Dickbrain, or you’re just made to feel like one every day when you go in, can I just promise you that all of those really ‘cool kids’, the sporty cool guys, and the skinny pretty girls, all grow up to have the most boring adult lives and jobs, because they never had to forge their own path when they were younger, they never had to find their own way when they were little. And if you are having to do that now, it is tough, but I promise you, you grow up to have the most brilliant and creative adult life. Yeah, whoever heard of a musician or an artist who just fit in, really easily at school? Nobody.

So, Dickbrains unite, yes?”


Choose your idols wisely guys


Hopefully this post gave you a little bit more of an insight into who I am, and has made you more confident in the choices you have ahead of you. Let me know in the comments below if it did, and if you’d like to talk about anything, just drop me an email at corinnebygrave@gmail.com