Undergraduate

Keeping in touch with friends

The countdown to the end of exams is on!  With the summer holidays being just around the corner it’s a time for excitement, the making of plans, and getting ready for some long summer days of much needed R&R.   However, the prospect of leaving this glorious city for a few months and saying farewell to uni friends is a cause of worry for many, and you may be concerned about missing them.  As a final year student myself, the thoughts of missing and losing touch with friends are more prominent than ever.

Having spent every summer away from the UK and doing study abroad in Canada during my third year, I’ve learnt that staying in touch with friends is super easy and that you needn’t fear about losing friends.

We’re told often that long-distance communication is easier than ever, and that until only a few decades ago the ability to have a real-time conversation with someone on the other side of the globe was pure science fiction.  Today, social media lets us keep track on what’s going on in our friends’ lives across oceans and the internet lets us chat for free with anyone across the world (except China and North Korea of course, and interestingly Bangladesh and Tajikistan according to Wikipedia).  This is all very obvious, and if you can sustain a good social life in 2017 without Facebook then I’m honestly amazed.

11Marketingland

But the most important lesson I’ve learnt is that it’s okay not to stay in regular contact with friends and that you shouldn’t be scared of losing touch.  One of my concerns when moving to Canada for my study abroad was that my wonderful UoM friends would drift away and that things would be different when I came back.  But at the same time I wasn’t willing to spend loads of time nattering with friends back home – I wanted to dive head-first into my new life in Canada, and focus on meeting new people, trying new things and travelling.  I didn’t want to be held back by spending evenings tapping away on FB chat.

By keeping busy and spending a lot of time with people, I kept the feeling of home-sickness (or Manchester-sickness) at bay – I was having too much fun to be sad!  I did occasionally Skype a friend back home for a catch-up or if I was feeling down, but in all honestly this was never as good as a proper chat face-to-face.  Don’t feel weird if your Skype conversation feels a bit stilted or awkward – how often in real life are you staring at your friend and devoting 100% of your attention to them for a prolonged period?  Normally you have natural breaks, look away, have a drink etc.  You’re not forced to make constant conversation!  Also, as great as FB is for maintaining connections, I find being sat there tapping away pretty boring – it’s no match for a real chat and you’ve probably got more interesting things going on.

When I got back to Manchester it was just like old times – if you really are good friends with someone it’ll take way more than a few months or a year to change that!  If anything, the lack of constant contact made the reunions extra special and I definitely didn’t feel like I missed out.

However, my worries about leaving Canada were about 10 times greater than those about leaving Manchester.  When flying out of MAN airport I knew that I’d be back in less than a year, but when would I be going back to Canada anytime soon?  As well as making some wonderful Canadian friends I’d also gained amazing friendships with people from all over the world, and thought of losing these was heart-breaking.

Thankfully, this last year in Manchester has proven to me that I didn’t have to be scared, and that things work out for the best.  A group of us met in Copenhagen this February for a mini-holiday, and it was just like old times!  Within an hour we joking, chatting and cuddling up on the sofa, and it felt like only a week since we’d seen each other.  I feel fully assured that I’ll be able to sustain my friendships in future, even if it’s many years before I see people again.  Eventually I’m sure you’ll cross paths with many old friends again.DSCN2081.JPG

(A photo of me and my Vancouver friends having a reunion in Copenhagen)

Of course, there are probably some people who I won’t see again and some friendships will have to be confined to memory.  But I don’t let this get me down as it’s natural for friends to drift apart as the times change as well as people, but I’m always immensely grateful for the good times we had and the things I gained from the friendship.  I feel that most relationships are quite transient and that’s quite beautiful in itself, because as well as drifting away friends in life we can always make new ones and become closer to others.

Wow, I’ve deviated quite a lot from my initial blog idea to talk about how easy it is to stay in touch with people.  This is getting quite philosophical now – talking about the nature of relationships and how times change.   Ultimately what I want to say is don’t worry about losing touch and that good friendships take a lot to diminish, but that it’s good to accept that good things come to an end and that we should appreciate them for what they were.  Namaste.

 

Manchester – The Capital of the North

‘This is Manchester, we do things differently here’ – Anthony H. Wilson

Coming to Manchester to attend an Open Day soon?  Well, not only is this a good opportunity to check out our wonderful University, but it’s also a super chance to explore the greatest, boldest, and most fabulous city in the North!

Mancunians are famously proud of their city, culture, and football club, and having lived here for a few years it’s easy to see why.  Not only is Manchester one of the UK’s most culturally diverse, exciting and famous city (narrowly beaten by London), but it has sights and activities to suit all tastes.  With wild nights out until sunrise, a world full of cuisines, and a multitude of museums and more, Manchester has something for everyone.

If you have time on your Open Day, there are loads of things you can see and do within walking distance of the University to have a taste of what Manchester has on offer.And_on_the_sixth_day,_God_created_Manchester

If food’s your thing

Foodies flock from all over to sample the one million and one different cuisines available in Manchester, so be sure to treat your taste buds when you visit!

The heart of Manchester’s South East Asian community is found in Chinatown, a few minutes’ walk from Piccadilly Gardens in the city centre.  For top-notch Vietnamese food, I recommend I Am Pho for their delicious noodle soup.  Or if you have a sweet tooth and fancy a twist, get a green tea or lychee dessert from Wasabi.

Closer to campus you can find the famous Curry Mile where you can find flavours from all over the Middle East, North Africa, Central Asia and the Indian Sub-Continent.  As well as offering food for all tastes there are also options for all budgets, from mouth-watering £2.50 shawarma from Atlas to elaborate Indian banquets at Mughli.

chinatown-ben-williams

Shopaholics’ Anonymous

If you’re keen for a shopping experience that takes you beyond the usual chain shops, the Northern Quarter has an eclectic selection of boutiques, independent cafes and record stores.  As Manchester’s beating bohemian heart, it’s also home to some of the most avant-garde bars, underground music spaces and galleries.

NQ market

If you only have an hour or so, I whole-heartedly recommend a quick tour of Affleck’s Palace.  In this multi-cultural bazaar, you can browse a marvellous mix of alternative fashions and knick-knacks, and experience the indie-vibes that make Manchester so Manchester.

Feed your brain in Manchester’s museums

Another reason why Manchester is the best city ever is the vast number of free museums and art galleries found across town.  The Museum of Science and Industry is a must-see if you’d like to find out why Manchester is such a hub of scientific excellence and innovation, with fascinating exhibits on how Manchester became the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution, Alan Turing’s computers, and graphene.

MOSI-museum-science-industry-Manchester-03-430x280

Avid football fans should consider a visit to the National Football Museum near Victoria Train Station – not only can you learn some fun facts about the city’s renowned teams, but you can also gain a fascinating insight into the history and global impact of the beautiful game.

The University’s own Manchester Museum is an award-winning institution situated in a beautiful Neo-Gothic building in the heart of campus.  If you only have a short break in the day between classes this is the perfect place to ogle at the museum’s beautiful collection of natural history and anthropological artefacts.  Get involved with their hands-on activities and expert talks, and check out my favourite exhibit – the frogs!  (They’re so cute and colourful.)

MCR art gallery

If you’re more of a da Vinci than a Darwin, then the Manchester Art Gallery has a number of world-class collections showcasing the work of some of the world’s most renowned artists.  Here you can view classical masterpieces as well as modern art, and also admire the work of Manchester’s own L. S. Lowry.

Closer to campus you can find the University’s own Whitworth Art Gallery for an eclectic variety of artwork and avant-garde exhibitions.  Its café is also a beautiful spot for lunch with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the lush greenery of Whitworth Park.  Their salads and cakes are absolutely delicious too!

john rylands

If the main UoM campus doesn’t sate your appetite for stunning Neo-Gothic architecture, then the John Rylands Library on Deansgate Road is a must see.  A veritable cathedral of books with its lofty ceilings, exquisite stained-glass and dark wood bookshelves, it’s not surprising that this is one of Manchester’s top visitor attractions.  As a student at UoM you’ll have full access to the Wi-Fi and resources available here – I like to study in the main reading room and pretend I go to Hogwarts!

See you soon!

An Open Day here can be so much more than just looking around campus.  Take the time to explore Manchester, discover its eccentricities, and get excited for a jam-packed few years studying in this wonderful city!

 

How to make the most out of your open day

Ah Open Days – an exciting time for any prospective student.  I remember when I was an excitable teen taking trains across the country, swimming in free pens and comparing the complimentary buffets provided by different uni’s.  Not only is an open day an exciting time and a great excuse to travel, but they’re also the best way for you to make a well-informed decision on which course and uni is best for you.  This decision could be the biggest you ever make, so make sure you make the most of your open days by following this advice.

Planning and preparation – most universities will release a timetable of events taking place throughout the day, so make sure you read this and come up with an itinerary that best suits your interests.  Usually there’s loads of stuff going on, so get an in-depth insight of studying and living at the uni by attending a couple of subject talks, a campus tour and a finance talk.  Give yourself some time to explore the city and student accommodation too – you’re going to be living there for at least three years as well as studying!  Try to imagine the campus on a wet day in February – everywhere looks good in the sun and in prospectuses.openday

Getting a map in advance of the day too will let you see if these events will take place close to each other, or if you’ll need a good chunk of time to get between venues.  This will also be essential if you need to find the university when driving or getting a train in.  Many larger universities run shuttles to the different campuses and sometimes even to the train and coach stations.

Come up with your own list of questions you want answered to help your decision-making.  Feel free to pick the brains of the academic staff to help you learn about the courses and styles of learning – but remember some of them might have their own agenda when answering you!  Also they might have a narrow view of just the particular module they teach.

Alternatively, the student ambassadors assisting in various events will be a great way to find more objective views from a student’s perspective, such as how much they enjoy the courses, what life’s like at the uni, and tips for picking accommodation (shout out to UoM Campus Tours team! #PurpleAndProud).  It’s definitely worth asking as many people as you can for their opinions as everyone has different tastes and experiences.

SA2

Good things to know include:

  • How many hours a week will I probably be working?
  • How many contact hours are there?
  • How big are the classes?
  • What opportunities are there for you to broaden and deepen your understanding of the subject?
  • Are there industrial/research placements or study abroad on offer? Where are they and how are they organised?
  • How are you assessed?
  • Is there much to do around campus? Societies, Students’ Union events, sports etc…
  • What accommodation suits you best? Which are the party residences and which are quieter?
  • Do I prefer a bustling city uni or a more relaxed campus-based/small town one?

To wrap up then, remember to make a plan, ask looooads of questions, see as much as you can, and have fun.  Good luck with your decision-making!

 

Moving Out

pic1

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.

maxresdefault.jpg

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!

13695699_10155001152704128_1497098261_n

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!

15497765_10211900922540476_339043593_n

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!

17813867_1501843236516943_1537998714_n

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!

17793347_10154554052527607_415696956_n

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

17806754_10154247003947273_1969307151_n

Moving Day

Coming to a house near you

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