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How to get organised for returning to School

As the new academic year draws nearer and nearer, both new and returning students are beginning to prepare for the return to university. Looking towards September, there are many things students can do to make sure that they’re ready to return. Whether you’re coming to university for the first time, or coming back from a long summer at home, the new academic year can be overwhelming. At accommodation for students, we’ve compiled some helpful tips and tricks to help students settle back into university life.

Get familiar with the material:

Whether you’ve been prescribed an introductory reading list, or have simply been given a couple of recommendations, it’s useful to get on top of this as early as possible. Starting your reading will help keep the pressure off when the academic year begins, and make sure you’re already familiar with the concepts you will be learning. It is also useful to look into the specifics of your university course. Whether your units are all mandatory or whether you’ve got a lot of choice, know what you’ll be studying. Once term begins, staying on top of your work is one of the most important things; if you already know what you’ll be studying and you’ve done the reading, then academic life is going to be a lot easier for you.

Get to know your personal tutor :

Reaching out and contacting your academic advisor or personal tutor online can be a really helpful way to build your network at university. Your personal tutor will be your first point of contact once the academic year begins so get to know them sooner rather than later. Contacting them early in the year, may also be useful if you have a query once term begins.

Learn how to cook :

Whether you’re living away from home for the first time, or whether you’ve spent the year in catered halls and are moving into a house, being able to cook will help you avoid buying expensive ready meals or takeaways. Begin to think about cooking on a budget and buying cheaper food options to help your money go further. Perhaps buy a student cookbook to learn how to eat well on a budget. Think about batch cooking; you cook once and eat twice – a great tip for a timesaver or a lazy chef.

Think about your budget :

Living away from home, you’ll be living off your student loan (or grant), and it may be useful to plan how far this money will go before you leave. Create a budgeting plan, know how much you can spend on food each week, how much for nights out and how much (if any) will be left over? Think about whether you have any emergency funds you can draw on if you’re really in need of an extra boost. No matter how much you get, you get a lump sum all at once, and for the novice, this can seem like a lot; the veteran knows that it’s not. Planning your budget in advance can help you conceptualise how far your money will go.

Make sure you open up a student bank account, this can be an easy way to get an overdraft that is often interest free. Many banks offer students different incentives, such as a free railcard or an Amazon voucher. However, don’t be too swayed by the freebees, make sure you go to a bank that you trust and that has good rates.

Engage over social media :

Before university begins, many universities will often set up either official or unofficial Facebook groups. This is a great way to meet your flatmates or course mates before you’ve even began. Whether you’re a new or returning student it’s always useful to keep expanding your network and making connections and social media is becoming more and more useful for this. Whether you want to join societies or just connect with some likeminded people social media is the way to go, especially given the current restrictions and social distancing rules.

Make a checklist :

You’ve got the new bedding, and all your pots and pans, but it’s easy to forget some of the finer things, such as an extension lead or a hot water bottle. Make yourself a list in advance of all the things you use on a daily basis, and some of the things you use less often but absolutely need. Planning in advance will help avoid the last minute back to university panic and help you to keep your packing under control.

Do a bulk buy :

If you’re getting dropped off at university by your parent, or have a flatmate with a car, it’s a great idea to go and do a bulk buy while your loan has just come in and you’ve got the money. Bulk buying is cheaper in the long run and takes the pressure off your weekly shop. If you buy all your dry goods in advance then you’ll only have to buy fresh food when you go to the shop, and of course your load will be lighter when you’re carrying your shopping home each week.

Look ahead :

Those students entering third year will be looking ahead to their graduate prospects, keeping your CV updated can help keep the pressure off when you’re trying to juggle university work and job applications. This may also be a useful time to start looking at whether you can begin to gain some work experience in your chosen industry, whether you look for paid work or look for a voluntary opportunity. Starting early can reduce your stress later in the academic year, of course most students don’t yet know which industry they want to go onto (it’s okay that’s normal), but keeping your CV updated can help you be prepared for when an opportunity does come up.

Spend time with your friends and family :

Whether you’re a home bird that’s flying the nest for the first time, or whether you’re itching to get back, the bottom line is that you’re probably going to be away from your loved ones for the majority of the next academic year. So, take the time to say goodbye and spend some quality moments before you go back.

Get to know the area :

Whether you take a quick trip up to visit the city you’ll be in before term or turn to google to help you, it’s a good idea to research about the city that you’ll be living in. You might want to check out what the restaurants are like, how big the student community is, or check out where you can go on day trips. If you’re nervous about going to a new city, or wanting to get a better understanding of the city that you’ve been away from all summer, doing your research can help you feel prepared for the move away and the start of term.

Overall, there’s no rule book for preparing for university, everyone’s different and finds comfort in different things but these are just some ways that can help you feel ready for the new academic year.

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Don’t Wear Contact Lenses While Showering or Swimming

Avoid content lenses in water

Contact lens technology has improved drastically since the days when your only option was putting hard plastic chips on your eyeball. But even with all the optical advancements, there are still some activities doctors recommend that you avoid while wearing contacts — and you may be surprised to hear that that list includes showering and swimming.

As a former contacts-wearer (now a full-time glasses devotee), I remember how luxurious it felt wearing contacts in the shower and actually being able to see my legs while attempting to shave them. And the same went for swimming (minus the leg-shaving). But as it turns out, I really shouldn’t have been doing either activity while wearing contacts, and you probably shouldn’t either. Lifehacker spoke with two ophthalmologists about these safety issues. Here’s what you need to know.

Water and contacts don’t mix

The guidelines from the American Academy of Ophthalmology are pretty straightforward when it comes to showering or swimming while wearing contact lenses: they recommend not doing it.

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The 7 Worst Foods for Your Brain

The 7 Worst Foods for Your Brain

Your brain is arguably the most important organ in your body. Sure, there are several others that you can’t live without, but the brain controls them all. And not only does it keep your heart beating and your lungs breathing all the time, it is also the repository of everything that makes you, you. All your thoughts, feelings, and memories originate or reside in the brain.

Obviously, it is important to keep this most vital organ happy and healthy. Proper nutrition can mean the difference between a clear head with a sense of purpose and a foggy head with a sense of desperation. As a lifelong habit, healthy eating also slows the rate of aging-related cognitive decline and reduces the risk of developing dementia.
On the flip side, there are foods that are just the worst for your brain. Indulge too often and you will likely experience confusion, low mood, and slowed reaction times. In a vicious cycle, a depressed brain has poor ability to make the right decisions in order to improve.

If you know you have some bad habits, it is time to start scaling back. Your brain won’t like a massive dietary overhaul all at once, and even though you know it’s the right choice, you’ll struggle to maintain it. Instead, remove the following 7 items from your diet one by one, making a gradual shift that will protect the health of your brain for the long haul. The easiest one to quit is probably #7.

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TEN TIPS FOR A PRODUCTIVE LIFE

 

10 TIPS FOR A PRODUCTIVE LIFE

BUSINESS TIPSHAPPINESSTIPSBY EMMA CHAPMAN

Tips for being prodcutive

At first I was going to call this article, “10 Tips for a Productive Work Day.” But the more I thought about it the more I felt like productivity isn’t just about work. I like having a productive weekend or night at home too. (But, of course, I love a good vacation day spent doing NOTHING as well!) I would really like to have a productive life, but it’s sometimes a bit of a struggle. Here are ten tips that help me stay on track.

1. Make a to-do list. I am absolutely lost without a to-do list! I (try) to write out a list every morning just before I begin the day. I’ve also found that if I’m feeling overly anxious about a big project at work or looming deadline I sometimes make my to-do list the night before. This makes me feel like I’m getting a jump start on the day.

2. Give yourself small rewards for completing big tasks. I don’t know about you, but I am all about rewards. It might be something as little as, “Once I finish getting through all my emails I’ll go make my afternoon cup of coffee.” Little rewards don’t have to be about money or things, get creative and find small ways to motivate yourself to hustle. 🙂

3. Find ways to break up your workday (or night). I feel like I have a pretty decent attention span, but I’m not super human or anything. It’s good to break up tasks that take a long time or that are physically demanding in any way. For example, let’s say you’re a photographer and you have about five hours of editing to do one night. Work for three hours then give yourself a snack or paint your nails. Then finish up that work. Also, if you sit a lot in order to work make sure to build in a few stretch breaks into your day. You’ll feel better!

4. Avoid addictive time wasting activities. I recently confessed my love for Candy Crush Saga. I’m no stranger to time wasting activities. Facebook can be a trap. Smartphone or internet games can also get super addictive. Avoid these when you’re trying to get something done. Check your FB during the last five minutes of your work day (maybe as your reward?). Also set limits for mini “time wasting” sessions. It’s ok to need a mental break, but don’t get sucked in. For example, next time you go to check Instagram while you’re suppose to be working look at the clock first. Give yourself only 2-3 to scroll through your feed then stop.

5. Get as much done as early in the day as you can. It’s a ripple effect thing. Personally, I’m sort of morning, sort of not a morning person. You know? I have a hard time getting up in the morning! But I’ve noticed that when I do get up and get rolling on my to-do list for the day I already feel so accomplished by nine or ten in the morning that I feel confident about the rest of the day. Start your day with a bang! The momentum will keep you rolling. Then you have the evening hours to relax and unwind.

6. Tackle that really tough to-do first. I know. You don’t want to. Me neither. But once it’s done it’s done! I find that I’ll often leave a really tough or bummer to-do at the bottom of my list for days and days longer than it should have been there. And it’s just looming over me the whole time. Just do it. You’ll feel better. And then you’ll only have the easy stuff left to do.

7. Showcase your success. This is motivation fuel for the future. It’s ok to feel super pumped and proud when you complete a tough goal or finish a super long to-do list. Tell your significant other. Instagram that finished project. Call your mom. Pump your fists in the air. Celebrate—you did it!

8. Tell someone your goals. Now they are your accountability partner(s). Boom. I don’t know about you, but I am WAY more likely to finish a goal if I’ve told someone else about it. This can be as public as you like. You could tell your sister a personal goal. Or you can start a monthly blog series where you share your goals for the month (like 4 Simple Goals) and then you share progress. You decide who you want to tell, just tell someone.

9. Be realistic. We all need breaks. Plan to come back to difficult or frustrating tasks later. Sometimes things don’t come together like we’d hoped. Sometimes a task turns out to be way more physically demanding than we thought. Be honest with yourself. Take a break if you need. Just be sure to make a specific plan to come back to the project, maybe seek out some help if you need.

10. Make goal setting a habit. Maybe the whole to-do list sounds annoying, or cheesy, or overwhelming to you. Find what works for you. And don’t worry if it feels weird or even scares you a little at first. It will start to feel like a normal part of your daily life. And you’ll start to feel weird/off if you miss it. It’ll become habit, like brushing your teeth. It’s not overwhelming or annoying to remember to do this simple task twice every day. But it wasn’t always a habit, probably your parents had to remind you a lot at first. Let goal setting become a routine and positive part of your everyday life.

We believe in you! Make your life full of successes! And if you have any additional tips or specific examples of things you do to stay on track please share them with us. xo. 

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