Grocery Shopping 101

Shopping cart

Moving out to live on your own is difficult. You need to wake yourself up on time, remember to eat, get yourself to class… compound that with moving abroad, and you even have to relearn things about how to live.

Really the most important thing you have to learn how to do is go shopping for groceries. Before this year, I had gotten out of it, but as time went on I realized I couldn’t live on ramen noodles (super noodles) and granola. Below is my advice for living, thriving and surviving on a student budget!

  1. Make a list
    Before leaving your flat to get stuff, you need to know what stuff you need. So, make a list. I recommend searching for recipes and going from there (shout-out to this American pancake recipe for impressing my friends and fooling them into thinking I can cook)
  2. Find a store
    This is mostly for international students: Worcester has three really big places to shop: Asda, Sainsbury’s and the Co-operative. Between those and the smaller places, like Iceland and ALDI, you can find everything you need at reasonable prices. Of course, you could just do all your shopping online, too – but if you’re like me you probably really need a reason to get outside once a week.
  3. Don’t panic!
    If you’re new to the whole “cooking” thing, chances are you copied down some ingredients from a recipe that you have never heard of before. When you get into the store, you might not be able to find some specific ingredients. Fear not! In these cases, it’s helpful to have a backup plan and a short list of staples that will get you through the next week. Things like bread, peanut butter, jam, and milk would be on my list. They’re cheap, taste reasonably good and last a while.
  4. Eat, drink and be merry
    Now that you’re an expert at grocery shopping, you can turn your mind to other things. Like learning how to crochet, or play the theremin. Or cleaning the bathroom. Or, you know, lectures.

Do you have any advice for students shopping for themselves for the first time? Let me know in a comment!

Worcester University’s Student Accommodation!

9 LEDBURY

One of the most daunting things about moving to University, is not knowing what your accommodation will be like.

Many of us get the chance to have a look around University halls during the Open Days, before we put our choices down. The University can not always guarantee that they can place us in our first choice, but this isn’t the end of the world.

7 LEDBURYI remember the day when I received my email telling me which halls I had been offered.

I got Ledbury halls, which is on the University’s main St. John’s campus. It wasn’t my first choice, but I was happy with what I was given. I was just buzzing with excitement to get there.

I can’t talk for all of the students who experience life in halls, as my situation was a little different from most others.

I was placed in Ledbury Flat 9 (which will not exist soon,) which is known as the disabled flat for the Ledbury building.

This meant that the large kitchen was switched around with one of the rooms, to allow plenty of wheelchair access to one bedroom. There was also only 4 of us that lived there, rather than the 6 or 8 students that you normally have in each flat.

I loved Ledbury, and being in a small flat meant that it had a very homley feel to it.
We visited other (normal) Ledbury flats aswell though, each with a massive kitchen and decent sized rooms.
It’s not a 5 star hotel, but it has everything that you need in a student hall.1 AEHOUSMAN

The reason that my experience in halls was a lot different from many people, was not only that I was placed in the tiniest flat on campus, but that I was moved into a new flat towards the end of the year.

Us lucky lucky trainee teachers and nurses get a month or so extra at University than other courses. This meant that with a month still to go at University, all of the surrounding flats had been packed up and all of the students around us had gone home for the summer.

As a precaution, so that security would know which buildings had students in, a large number of us teachers and nurses were moved into one building. This didn’t happen to everyone, but it did for most of us.

We returned after a day out to some mysterious letters under the door, saying 4 AEHOUSMANthat we had just a few days to move out and into
A E Housman halls, across the other side of the campus.

Panic set in, and it took a million and one trips to carry our clothes and boxes across the campus to our new flat
.. but it was so worth it.

 

A E Housman and the twin building of Elizabeth Barrett Browning are called the “En suite extra” halls. This means that not only do you get a massive rooms with a beautiful en-suite bathroom, but you get the nicest kitchen i’ve ever seen, with stacks of storage and a flat screen tv. For the last month of University, we had been upgraded to a brand new and modern flat, and also had some new flat mates! We missed Ledbury, but it was great!

2 AEHOUSMAN

My fellow blogger and boyfriend, David Millward, lived in Sansome halls in the city. The walk from Sansome halls to the main campus was manageable, and his flat was lovely as well. One side of the building does look over onto the train station, but I never heard of this being much of an issue. Again, Sansome was very homely, with an enormous kitchen in each flat and big rooms with en-suite bathrooms.

3 AEHOUSMAN

The City Campus and other halls around the city are all really good. For some, the walk to the main campus may be a little off putting, but you’ll soon come to love the beautiful scenic walk through the city and across the river.

I also have friends that didn’t get into halls, and got placed in Student housing for their freshers year. This probably feels like the end of the world and like you will miss out on everything, but every first year student house that I’ve 5 AEHOUSMANseen has been so nice, so there’s no need to worry about that!

My personal opinion is that you can more than make do with the basic and traditional halls on the St John’s Campus, which are all very homely and have a lovely feel to them.

The En suite extra’s are of course, more expensive. It’s more than you need for day to day student living, but if you have the money to pay for it.. then doooooo it.

There are many aspects of living in halls that I haven’t touched on…. like the loud music, the 3am fire alarms and the random
guy that used to play the Didgeridoo on the grass outside the flat every morning, (yes that did happen.)
But no matter what halls you get put in, it all makes for an unforgettable experience!

 

Find out more about Worcester University’s student accommodation

Future applicants! Get all your questions about Worcester University answered!

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Hello future University of Worcester students! :-)

Hope you’re all doing okay! I am just writing this blog to let you know about an opportunity coming up that could potentially be very handy!

I remember when I got my notification on UCAS saying I was accepted into the Uni, and the gap between accepting Worcester as my firm choice and actually starting at University felt like it took FOREVER!

Now, as we all know, there are plenty of different questions that can come up during that time, and although there are plenty of ways you can get in touch with the University (including Twitter: @worcester_uni ), we are offering a slightly more unique opportunity this Thursday at 4PM!

It is all very well having members of staff answering your questions, and to be fair to them, they do an incredibly good job of it, but there are certain questions you may have, or come up with, that you would just feel more comfortable asking a student!

Well, I have some good news for you! On this Thursday 10th April at 4PM I am taking part in a Live Q&A for prospective students, where you can ask me whatever questions you like about coming to University here! Admittedly I am not the most high profile, or most intelligent of guests, but you have to remember, the University is on a budget!! ;-)DSC_1946

So why not join us for our live Q&A where  I will available for a full hour to answer any questions you may have? Any concerns about coming to the Uni, questions about the University or Worcester itself, or even about my experiences here.. I will be free to answer them all! :-)

Here is the Facebook event page

And I look forward to hearing from you all! :-)

Students: How to be excellent at fancy dress!

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It’s inevitable that over the three years that you’ll be at uni there will be a lot of social events you’ll be invited to. Whether it’s Fresher’s week, Halloween, a charity event, a house party or a night out with friends – fancy dress will definitely be a fun part of your university experience.

Although I’m not on one of the Students’ Union weekly social events for a sports team or society, I know that almost every week some form of fancy dress is paramount. And it’s good fun; most people love a good fancy dress theme – myself included! The only problem with fancy dress is that it’s easy to re-use costumes and so it can get a bit samey…

So here are 5 top tips for hosting a fancy dress themed night as well as attending one:

1. Pick a theme that will go down well with everyone.

Make sure it’s a universal theme that everyone will enjoy and that everyone can think of something they’d like to be seen in.

Often themes where people dress differently can be a good idea because there’s no pressure to look better than anyone else wearing the same costume and then you’re costume can be kept a surprise.

2. Think about the cost.

1901327_10151915216612167_1402172159_nAlthough going out as the Teletubbies may seem like a good idea, it’s probably going to cost a lot to look like an actual Teletubby. As students, we don’t often have money flying around all over the place so be practical.

Think of clothes that people may already have at home that can easily pass for something else or that people can easily pick up cheaply from Primark/charity shops.

3. Think outside the box.

Don’t go as something too safe. You may think you’ve come out as a really good cat on Halloween because you have real hair whiskers and have spent ages on your ears and tail. But the fact of the matter is; you’re still dress as a cat. On Halloween.10003970_10151915216592167_87496469_n

Along with everyone else. For a school-themed fancy dress, how about going as a Head teacher or Science teacher or even a white/blackboard so people can write school-related messages on you? People are bound to turn around and think you’re a genius.

4. The small things make a difference.

998239_10151915204242167_461224401_nMy friend Ant’s birthday theme recently was to dress up as anything beginning with the letter A (for Ant) and so me and my friend Elin thought it would be a good idea to dress up as ASDA (both random and embarrassing I know!)

We bought green shirts from Primark, wore carrier bags on our backs and made staff badges. It didn’t take long, cost hardly anything and showed we’d put effort in. Going out as ASDA was definitely one of my favourite fancy dress themed nights out.

Just like real life, accessories are the last thing you think about but often they’re first thing noticed. Adding or making your own accessories can be all it takes to make your very average outfit into a brilliant one.1978706_10151915204512167_510434098_n

5. Group characters!

This always works well and shows you’ve put good effort in. TV show characters for a theme could consist of the whole Scooby Doo Gang (again cost effective, all Shaggy needs is a pair brown cord trousers and a green t-shirt) and by grouping together you won’t feel like a total muppet on your own! Again, a group of my friends went collectively to a Disney themed party as the cast of the Little Mermaid which was so so good!

A few of my favourite themed nights out so far at uni have included:1150399_10151915216657167_689829806_n

  • 90’s
  • Lifeguards
  • When I grow up I want to be…
  • General fancy dress (I went dress as a Friar once, not sure why!)
  • Anything beginning with the letter (insert letter)
  • Disney
  • Masquerade
  • Superheroes
  • Circus

and I’m sure there will be a few more over the next couple of months! Have fun and make sure you take lots of photos!

My journey to become a teacher – What do we really think?

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Over the last year and a half, I have had an absolute blast at University.

As I’m sure many people can relate to; I’ve experienced really great days and also really terrible ones.
I’ve had days when I can hardly wait to get up… and other days when I want to keep my head under the pillow for as long as possible.

There are many things that I love about being at University of Worcester, and other things that i’m not so fond of.

University experienceFor example, I love my course and all of my course friends.
I love living in a student house and I have found a new leash of independence that I never thought I would.
I don’t like being away from home, but i’ve learnt to deal with it.
I don’t like the stacks of work and the long deadline list that I have pinned to my wall, but I have learnt to get through it. I also don’t like being hungry and tired all of the time… but I think that’s just a student thing!

Regardless of all of the negatives though; these examples, and more, create endless memories that I will look back on fondly as some of the best years of my life.

I’d never really thought about my experience here until it came to sitting in front of my laptop and writing these blogs. My blogs have not only helped me to write down everything that I have learnt over my time here, but they have helped me to reflect on everything that I have experienced, and really appreciate it.

After some deep reflection, and some helpful suggestions from my fellow students and staff, I came to the conclusion that I would create a blog post and a video that allowed other students to express their opinions about Worcester University as well.

It’s important for everybody to have their say.first day at uni

I can’t speak for everyone when I talk about the Primary Initial Teacher Education course, because we all have our own voices.

I’m also sure that many of you would appreciate hearing what other current students have to say as well!

For those of you that are looking into joining us trainee teachers at the University of Worcester, then allow the following video to show you just what an amazing journey you are about to be a part of.

Thank you so much to everyone that took part in my video, and for any of you that take the time out of your day to watch it.
I hope you love it as much as I do.

My journey to become a teacher – Living away from home

my student house!

For many students, going to University isn’t just about starting a new chapter and embarking on a new course.. it’s also about moving away from home.

For lots of us, myself included, moving into halls or into a student house is the first time we have ever left home.

some of my wonderful family!I was one of the students that was frantically checking the Worcester Freshers Facebook page at every opportunity, trying to find my flat mates and hoping that they were at least relatively normal (which they were, thankfully!)
But worrying about wether I would get on with my flat mates was only one of the things that I was thinking about. Would I like my room and my flat? Would I be good at my course? Will I cope being away from home? 

There are many worries that I’m sure everybody has when they are starting University, but I think that the reality of it is a lot stronger when you have to move out of your home as well.

Luckily for me, home is only an hour away at most. I also have a car, which makes travelling back on the odd weekend very easy.
But… my main concern was not how I would get home, but how I would ever have any time to!

We were made very aware on the open days and interview day that the Primary Initial Teacher Education course is busy, and requires your full effort and time. With full days of lectures, stacks of work and long placements, the prospect of having any time to go home seemed near impossible.

I have a very large and very close family, and I will admit that I was worried that I wouldn’t see them often.

A few of my course friends have admitted that they did in fact also worry about this. Especially those who now live a first and second year flat mates!good few hours away from home.

If you are one of those students, like I was, that is nervous about moving away and having no time to return, then let me tell you this…

You will have plenty of time.

Now that might seem obvious to some people, but I think that I would have been more at ease if somebody had told me that before I started.

I have in fact been home many times throughout my first and second year, and so have my course friends that live hours away. It’s often difficult to plan in advance, but with good time keeping and organisation, it’s more than do-able.  And of course, we do get a few weeks off throughout the year, and a nice long summer break!

Living away from home has many positives as well. I miss my family, but I have made lifetime friendships, had a blast in student halls, and am having so much fun living in a student house this year with my friends.

University friends

I could have commuted to University everyday, but I wanted the new experience of living here as well, and I have never regretted that decision.

It becomes easy to live away from home, and makes the times with your family that little bit more special!

Don’t let your worries of missing home stop you from doing the course that you have your heart set on.
Training to be a teacher is hard, and often I don’t go home for a while, but by the end of my course I will hopefully be doing what I deem to be the best job in the world.
So, how is that not worth it?

My journey to become a teacher – Getting the right balance

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I would like to think that over the last year and a half, I have learnt some useful things about how to cope with the demanding lifestyle that comes with being a teacher.

Training to be a teacher is hard enough, so it’s a little terrifying to think that once I land myself a job, it’s likely to get a whole lot harder. But I’m up to the challenge, and I can’t wait for the day when I can stand in front of my own class and tell myself that all my hard work has paid off.

bec4I’ll admit that I have made the odd comment about how doing a teaching degree is a million times harder than any other. I think that the only reason us, trainees, say this is because a lot of people don’t appreciate what a demanding degree and career it can be – mentally, emotionally and physically.

But saying that; I couldn’t picture myself doing anything else, and I completely respect that studying is difficult in any context. I also think that it’s extremely important, in any career, to have a good study-life balance!

In a couple of weeks time, I will be going back into School to start my big block placement of Year 2. I am aware that hard work is on the horizon, and I’ve already been told a hundred times just how important this placement is.

Every now and then, I have a momentary panic thinking that I’ve probably forgotten everything, but I guess the craft of teaching doesn’t go…it is just the familiarity and being ‘in the zone’ that sometimes fades.bec2

Often, the fear of relaxing too much and losing my focus during placement is enough to keep me up every evening doing my work, even after a long day at school when I can barely keep my eyes open.

But for my upcoming time on school placement, I am determined to make sure that I keep on top of my social life as well.

It’s a little different this year, as myself and my two fellow trainee teachers/flat mates from last year, have moved into a house with our three close, non-teacher friends as well. This (fingers crossed) will help us to switch off our teacher heads a little when we walk in the front door.

It’s so easy to let studying and work experience completely take over, and I think that it’s important for all students, not just trainee teachers, to relax and enjoy being young and surrounded by friends.

Tips for how to get the right work/life balance:

bec3- Set yourself a strict time, and stick to it! Giving yourself a set time to do your work will help you to stay focused, and allow you to put your books away and have some time off, when you’re done.

- Get enough sleep. You only need to work with a child who’s had a late night, to realise the negative effect that sleep deprivation can have on your work. Enough sleep will make your work time more productive, and give you more energy for your social life!

- Give yourself something to look forward to. Make some plans to go away for the weekend, out for the evening or to spend time with a friend etc. This way you have strict deadlines to work towards and you’ll feel like you’ve earned yourself some fun time off.

- Surround yourself with positive people! I find this especially helpful bec1after a long day of placement or when i’m trudging through a large pile of work. There is no reason why you have to completely separate your work and your social life. Sit with your friends and chat whilst you work to keep you positive and sane!

It’s really important to work out how to switch off sometimes, in order to have a well balanced, happy and stress-free time at University! More useful tips in Emily’s post on the same topic – check it out!

What I Discovered at University

Moving Out Discoveries 1

Many University students make the choice to move away from home. That was me last year – I opted to move to the residence halls on my home University’s campus. In addition to what you’d expect from living away from home with hundreds of like-minded peers, there were a few discoveries I was surprised to make.

  • I plan my own meals

Want to try out an interesting-looking restaurant? There’s nothing stopping you from going right now. Want to live on rice? Consume copious amounts of peanut butter? Put chocolate on everything ?

For better or worse, all is possible when you’re on your own. Last year, I opted for a 3-meal-a-day plan in my residence hall, but in Worcester I have a full kitchen in my flat and the ability to use it however and whenever I want.

  • I can do this cooking thing

Access to a kitchen comes with great power and responsibility. Honestly, the day I realized I could bake cookies whenever I wanted was the best day ever for me. You don’t even have to spend a lot of time making your food, but even learning to make some simple things, like real American pancakes, makes eating much more interesting than frozen pizzas every night.

It’s also made me get pretty good at grocery shopping and bargain hunting – between Sainsbury’s, ASDA, and the Co-op, Worcester has everything you need.

  • I can go where I want

The best discovery I made last year was the public transportation system in Duluth. Suddenly, the whole city was open to me even though I didn’t have a car.

In Worcester, the situation is even better, because everything is within walking distance. Travel to Birmingham (or anywhere else in England with a train station) is also ridiculously easy, and all the English cities I’ve been to are very pedestrian friendly.

  • I make my own schedule

You don’t have to plan ahead when you want to go somewhere – you can just leave your house and decide where to go while you’re on the way there! Such is the freedom of a University student.

My entire trip to Barcelona was researched and purchased about 72 hours before I left, and I still didn’t know what I was going to do when I got there.

But it doesn’t have to be a big trip: Worcester is a great city for walking. Whenever I ever need to get some fresh air, you’ll probably find me wandering down Friar Street or around Fort Royal Hill.

  • There are lots of different languages

Rural Minnesota is not known for its diversity. I was actually relieved, as an international student myself, that the University of Worcester has a sizable international population.

Having grown up in a small town, it’s frankly still exciting to pass people in the halls that are talking and not have the slightest idea what they are saying.

I can honestly say that moving to University (both last year, and all the way across the ocean this year) has been the most exciting to ever happen to me. If you’re still on the fence about moving away from home, I’d encourage you to try it out at least for a while. It can be hard being on your own for the first time, but it also provides a new level of independence, and common ground with everybody else on campus, too.

What was your experience moving to University like? Let me know in the comments!