Postgraduate

Moving Out

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Why I’m opting for UniBaggage this June

As the academic year draws to a close and the freedom of summer becomes a real, tangible concept, one seemingly small task stands in your way… Moving out. 

For the majority of students at university, term-time accommodation is exactly that – a term-porary arrangement. Like the noble hermit crab, students too have learnt to adapt to their surroundings, moving from abode to abode, upgrading to more suitable shells when they outgrow their old. Our similarities with the crustacean end there, I hope.

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Shinneayy – When you spot a new shell

 So whether you’re looking forward to a few more years at Manchester and just bidding adieu to halls or in your final semester and reluctantly handing in the keys to your flat, here are a few points to check off before you go!

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Avoid panic scoffing 101

  1. Food

Get rid of it! Try to plan out your meals for the last few days before moving. No one wants two fishcakes with a side of rice pudding for dinner… Make your final culinary ventures triumphant! I’m a big fan of batch cooking and find it really useful to keep a note of any extra portions I have hiding away in the back of the freezer. If you find that you do have an odd combination of leftovers, collaborate with a housemate to make something half decent! Too much food and need to clear it in a rush? Donate it. Food banks like Manchester Central on Oxford Road do an amazing job and would only be happy to help you with that surplus of baked beans!

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Me to my past self when I remember the chilli I’ve frozen

  1. Cancelling Bills

A less enthralling task, but one that needs to be done unless you intend to pay for your successors’ utilities… You can do this by simply ringing up and explaining when you will be moving out. This may require a meter reading depending on what bill you’re cancelling so be prepared to find ‘the box’.

  1. Changing Postal Address

Another sleep inducing chore, but again, important! Think magazine subscriptions, your contact lens deliveries and voting cards. You can notify most companies and organisations of your change of address online so it needn’t be too time consuming. Don’t forget to let your family and friends know to divert your care packages over the summer as well! 17813919_1694617144168942_968862816_n

The moment you realise someone else has your National Geographic

  1. Cleaning Up

The big one. The event you’ve been postponing for weeks now, but can barely bring yourself to begin, unless of course you’ve procrastinated a bit a la Kim and Aggie during exams and are ahead of game now. I’d recommend tackling your own bedroom first, once you know you’ve conquered the self-inflicted filth, you should be good to attempt the communal areas. Try to divide the rooms up fairly and make it fun! Get a good playlist going and treat yourself to a meal out afterwards… Wouldn’t want to mess up that immaculate kitchen!

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Yeah, jump into cleaning this house

5. Recycling

Not your weekly bins, although that’ll need doing as well. You may have spotted the large colourful recycling containers dotted around campus and University halls. These are exactly what they claim to be – an easy, fuss free and accessible way to donate any items you may want rid of, from pots and pans to old books and that duvet your Mother has pleaded with you not to bring home. It’s a no brainer – good for you, good for the environment and good for charity!

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Suitcase bashing: Valid exercise

6. Storing

For the items you do want to keep hold of, decide what you will need over the break and what you want to do with the rest. There’s a whole range of storage companies out there, eager to take the load off you for a while if you are returning in September. If you can, it’s worth getting in touch with your new landlord or letting agency to discuss the possibility of storing things at the new property over the holidays as well.

(6.5 …and Shipping)

Whilst more than a third of current students will be staying on to continue their studies or live and work in Manchester, the rest will be moving on and no doubt will have accumulated a considerable collection of possessions during their time. Enter UniBaggage. Without sounding too much like an article with a questionable injection of product promotion that could set off anyone’s overactive cringe gland, this company has truly been so great in moving me over, back and here again, saving time, money and energy that would otherwise have been spent on driving a car-load of things from Ireland.

7. Returning Keys

So, you’ve done it! House – pristine, food – all gone, unwanted items – donated and everything else in storage. You’re ready to go… Just don’t forget to return your keys! Most landlords and agencies will expect the whole set when the last tenant moves out, so it’s a good idea to have this individual look over the house inventory before they leave as well.

For further tips and advice, see the Union’s ‘House Advice’ campaign, with a few more points that are definitely worth remembering when moving out!

https://manchesterstudentsunion.com/top-navigation/advice-service/accommodation-advice/moving-out

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Moving Day

Coming to a house near you

Meet Sebastian

As a PhD student and winner of the Eli and Britt Harari Graphene Enterprise 2016 Award, Sebastian is tackling the global issue of water scarcity and looking at ways to improve the quality of people’s lives with graphene.

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Sebastian began his career at Manchester where he studied for his undergraduate degree in Material Science. He had the opportunity to do an industrial placement year which helped to boost his CV. The placement also gave him the chance to experience what industry is like and helped inform his decision to pursue a PhD.

“I’ve loved my time here. I started my undergraduate degree at Manchester and I met some great academics and friends. Getting experience in my final year to work with graphene was great. It was a dream come true. I joined the University a year after the Nobel Prize was awarded, so you could say I was eyeing it up from the beginning!

“I applied for the Eli and Britt Harari Graphene Enterprise Award not really thinking I’d win. But I thought it was worth the shot and would be a good experience to think through the idea of seeing how a project could be commercialised. I took on the challenge and discovered how there was space for my idea.

“Winning the award was a big surprise, but it was great and very exciting. As part of my graphene NOWNANO CDT (centre for doctoral training), I’m working on a desalination project which looks at incorporating sustainable energy to tackle the global issue of water scarcity. This project in particular caught my eye as what motivates me the most is working on technology which improves the quality of living and people’s lives.

“The aim of the game is to think how technology can solve problems and have an influence for the better in the world. I’ve been interested in science for as long as I can remember and I have two main channels of interest. One being the curiosity side of science and analysing how things work in particular ways. The other is more focused on how human history has evolved and how technology has factored in to it. There are big problems to overcome, but I think being on the verge and change in technology is really exciting – particularly at Manchester.”

You can view Sebastian’s full story here

Give It Don’t Bin It

With summer quickly approaching and house moves coming up for many, it’s time for another of the hugely successful Give It Don’t Bin It campaigns. As a student who has loved living in Manchester for years, this is definitely one of the easiest ways students can give to charity, help reduce their carbon footprint, and give back to the local community.

Give It Don’t Bin It is an annual collaboration between Manchester University, MMU, the logo_newsarticleCouncil and charities to encourage students to recycle and donate their unwanted items to the British Heart Foundation and foodbanks as they pack up for the summer. Last year, students donated a tremendous 124 tonnes to the charity which raised £230,723 towards lifesaving treatments and research.  This fantastic amount helped to fund 43 Defibrillators, 38 CPR kits, 4 Heart Start Groups, 13 British Heart Foundation Shops and 51 Research Grants!

GIDBI_Food_transparentNot only does Give It Don’t Bin It make a great contribution to medical research, but it also means that hundreds of tonnes of unwanted possessions are recycled instead of going to landfill.  In addition to helping the environment this saved the city £50,000 in landfill costs in 2015.

Together, long-term residents, landlords and Manchester Leadership Programme students contribute hundreds of volunteer hours to pack and deliver charity donation bags and blue and brown recycling bags to students across the city.

All you have to do is but your unwanted things in the British Heart Foundation bags and drop it off at one of the donation banks found all over Manchester.  You can donate almost any clean and reusable items, such as small electronics, clothes, books, shoes and CDs.  A single bag could be worth over £14, so please think twice before throwing away your old possessions!GIDBI_Bag2_transparent

Give It Don’t Bin It packs are delivered to most student neighbourhoods, and to all students in Halls of Residences so keep your eyes peeled for yours. From drop off points in halls for British Heart Foundation to dates for extra recycling collections in student areas – the packs tell you what you can donate and what you  recycle and (importantly) how.  But, if you’re keen to make a start and yours hasn’t arrived you can find all the information on the Give it Don’t Bin it website

Let’s see what amazing things we can achieve this year!

Tips on leaving your house secure over summer

Leaving Manchester for the summer?  Remember that empty student homes can be tasty targets for burglars, and homes without security measures are five times more at risk of burglary than those with security measures.   Here’s an exciting list of some things you can do to make sure you make your house is as theft-proof as possible this summer.  Most of these are very obvious so I’ve tried to make it as non-patronising as possible, so please bear with me – you might have missed something out!

  • Double-check that all doors and windows are locked, as well as gates to the back of your property.
  • Secure bikes inside.
  • Make sure that you can’t see valuables from ground floor windows.
  • Take your most valuable items away with you over summer, pay to keep them in storage or give them to a friend who’s sticking around over summer.
  • Consider a timer switch to turn on your lights if you’re going on holiday for a short period
  • Hide all keys and make sure they’re not near the letterbox.
  • Ask a friendly neighbour to keep an eye on your property.
  • Avoid raving about your holiday plans on social media – this is an easy way for burglars to see that your house will be unoccupied!
  • Cancel unnecessary mail so there’s not an obvious pile of letters and junk mail underneath your letterbox.
  • Ask the landlord to trim your hedges so your house is easily seen from the street, and request automatic outside lighting.
  • All appliances and heating turned off
  • Make sure bins are emptied and put back (bins left out will not only annoy neighbours but are a sign no –one is about!)

Have a safe and happy summer!

5 tips to help you survive your final exams

Semester two has gone so fast and we’re fast approaching the exam season. So here are my 5 quick tips to help you survive the exam season!

World Quiz

  1. Be on time! It’s always a good idea get to an exam a little earlier than planned as you never know if there’s a lot of traffic on the day. It also gives you plenty of time to find your seat number and get prepared rather than rushing-in last minute.

 

  1. Make sure you have planned ahead and know exactly where your exam is taking place. It’s always a good idea to go see the exam location if you don’t know where it is, well before your exam.

 

  1. Remember to take everything you need into the exam! That also includes your library card! I always tend to keep my card in a clear pencil case with all the equipment I need for my exams, so I have everything I need in one place. It’s a good idea to get your things ready the day before so you aren’t rushing on the day of your exam.

 

  1. Look over the questions carefully and highlight the key words. This sounds like something from school, but I often find it helps me when I answer essays as I know exactly what I need to answer. Also, in the stress of an exam we can easily overlook key words in the question.

 

  1. Stay hydrated! Drinking plenty of water is important for your brain to work and it keeps you refreshed and calm during exams.

 

So here they are my 5 tips for the exam season! Good luck!

Got any more tips? Leave a comment!

Tasnim x

University VS time

The past month has been especially busy! Aside from the usual 8 hours of lectures, I have had to split my time between lab practical (15 hours/week), dissertation writing, course work, job applications, and activities for my society (Cancer Research UK Society). So, I thought I’d write this blog on what I think is important to remember during busy times.

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I might not be the best person at time management, but I always try my best to be efficient and get my work done by planning ahead of time. Every week, I write down a to-do list with important deadlines and assignments, whether it’s turning in a uni project or tasks I overlook as part of being the secretary for CRUKSOC society. Having a set list of goals makes it clear in my mind what I have to do and helps me in dismantling big tasks into smaller ones.

As a student, my  main duty is to study but almost everyone I know (myself included) has additional commitments such as part-time jobs, sport and society activities – so there’s a lot of juggling going on most of the time!

I also know that I’m the kind of person who can’t say no to people and who also naively believes I can multi-task different assignments all at once. This has caused tricky situations where I found myself spending sleepless nights trying to finish my work or, even worse, missing deadlines. I hate that this can make me look unprofessional and/or leave me feeling guilty for not delivering on a promised deadline. I’ve found that it’s important to be honest with myself and know exactly how much work I can take on.

Sometimes (maybe always), I put my personal health and wellbeing in the last place. I would rather sleep less, skip gym and eat ready-made meals to finish my work. But, even if it appears to save time, it is actually counterproductive. Due to lack of good nutrients, exercise and sleep, our body becomes more tired, stressed and less efficient/fast in getting things done. Therefore, it is very important to look after your own health. After all, health is something that you can’t obtain with good grades or buy with money. So, don’t forget to listen to your body and treat it well!

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I hope this short post can remind you that is normal to feel overwhelmed and stressed at times. All you need to do is to learn (by your own mistakes and experience – or by mine!)] how to balance your work and wellbeing.

What does employability mean to me and how the University is helping me become employable!

Employability – a word I heard a lot during my first few weeks at the University.

I was told that Manchester is among the best institutions worldwide for educating/training highly employable graduates (UoM has been ranked 35th in the QS Graduate Employability Rankings, this year). What does that mean?

Indeed, the University organises various Careers Fairs and other events throughout the year.

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Last year, even as a first-year student, I attended “The Big Careers Fair” at the Manchester Central Convention Centre. I met and networked with representatives from L’Oréal, AstraZeneca, P&G, Barclays, Jaguar Land Rover, Sky and many more. It was great – like a whole new world, because for the first time I understood the importance and relevance of adaptability and transferable skills. It didn’t matter (and even now, it doesn’t matter) that I was studying for a scientific degree; I was still a potential employee to most of the employers there at the fair, even though to those who were not science-related.

And that’s what I realised – that University teaches you transferable skills constantly, skills that can be applied to any situation and industry. If I needed further proof that employability is about more than my academic course, I got it  when I met former students at one of the “Meet the Professionals “run by the Alumni association. I encountered people who showed me that I could work in science policy and funding (still fascinated by this title) or as a scientific consultant in a bank, rather than the typical/stereotypical job as a lab technician. They all talked about using the transferable skills they gained during their university career.

What is also important is knowing how to present and talk about your experiences, and usually the first opportunity you get to do this, is on your CV. Curriculum Vitae is the first means to impress your potential employer: it takes 10 seconds to end up in the right pile and not in the trash bin. So, a good CV is essential to get that awesome job interview!

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The University runs CV surgeries appointments, where they can give you valuable advice about how to tailor your CV, from the font size to the content itself.

I have been actively searching for an industrial placement and so I’ve had recent experience of the whole application process – submitting my CV, going to assessment centres and attending interviews. I received great support from the Careers Services (located in The Atrium on the 1st floor of University Place).

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For the first stage of my application, I had to answer competency-related questions, as well as “why are you applying for X?” I received really helpful guidance about what employers were looking for in my answers. , I recently discovered from one of the employers that I ended up in the “right pile” because I demonstrated my eagerness and enthusiasm through my answers and beat at least 300 people who googled their answers. So, don’t slack and tailor your application, it will pay off!

I also booked a mock interview session with the Careers Services again and had the chance to practice my interview skills. It was a very insightful experience, where I was given loads of tips and tricks (for example, how to answer questions with the STAR model: Situation, Task, Action, Result). I also discovered online resources offered by the University, including videos on things like “what to do in an assessment centre”.

The University also offers different workshops (e.g. “how to boost your LinkedIn profile” and coding sessions at the Learning Commons) and resources like career-advice brochures and “Employability Passport”, to track your skills as well as to help you set a plan in increasing your employability.

After being in University for almost two years, I can definitely see all the effort, money and time that have been invested to help us become the most employable graduate employees possible. I can honestly say it’s not something I have seen before, especially where I come from in Italy. Support is definitely here, but you have to put in time and effort too. You can do so not only by developing transferable skills and experience but by learning how to show them off to employers.

Good luck everyone!