Friday, 23 August 2019

20 Items Every Student Should Take to Uni

Firstly, congrats on getting your results and surviving those last 2 years of compulsory education! Even if you didn't do as well as you had expected, completing them is an achievement in itself. Remember that your grades do not define your ability to do well at university level, so (I'm saying this from experience) please don't be put off. You will be fine, and your lecturers will be there to help you out whenever you need it.

With that over with, you are probably mid-way through compiling a list of things that you need to take you uni with you. We normally think of the essential bits and pieces (pots and pans, cutlery, bedding, clothes - all that stuff). However, it's always the case that you get halfway through the year or term before wondering why you hadn't thought of bringing this and that. To help you avoid that a little bit, I have compiled a list of 20 useful items which will come in hand. Most of them aren't essential, but I have found a lot of these to be very convenient to have around.

  1. USB Stick
    I would say that this one is an essential item. Please, please, please back up your work. Do it every week. You never know what's going to happen to your laptop. You don't want to find yourself in a situation where you have completed an assignment or written out all of your revision/ lecture notes, for it to suddenly all disappear. Can't think of anything worse.

  2. Academic Planner
    If you are a student who lives without an academic planner, how do you do it? Even if you're very good at remembering dates and appointments, it's always handy to have it physically laid out in front of you so that you can fit everything else (including some you time!) around current commitments. It's also a great way of tracking assignment deadlines and uni work that you need to complete along with society/ volunteering commitments. Student life can be hectic when your schedule is constantly changing every few weeks.

  3. Mini Handheld Vacuum Cleaner
    Not sure what the proper term for this is, but it looks like this and it's more useful than an iron and ironing board (which you will probably end up never using if your accommodation has detectors installed in the rooms). This is a more expensive purchase but it's worth it. It essentially works like a vacuum cleaner, but it's small, portable, lightweight, and rechargeable. Perfect for picking up those pesky crumbs from the carpet!

  4. Emergency Money
    I think that this is a really important point. Always have some set aside. The best thing to do is make sure that you take out some money and put it in a safe place in you room just in case you lose your bank card or you're not able to withdraw money from it for any reason. You can also set aside some of your student finance for emergency purposes as well, whether that be last minute train tickets or unexpected vet appointments. I know that Student Finance is supposed to be for student/ uni purposes, but sometimes you don't have another choice and you have to do what you need to.

  5. Umbrella
    I try to remember to always have an umbrella in my bag. The weather in England is unpredictable - sunny one moment and pouring with rain the next.

  6. Reusable Water Bottle
    vis GIPHY

    Stay hydrated! This way there's also no need to unnecessarily use plastic. This will save you money as well. Bonus.

  7. A blanket
    The heating in student accommodation is not reliable. There were some days when I had to sit in my coat because it was so cold. It's usually centrally controlled which means that you can't turn it on when you feel the need to, so if you're sensitive to the cold, a blanket could do some good.

  8. A Soft Toy (or more!)
    Whether we admit it or not, we all have our favourite childhood soft toys. At the beginning of the year all of us in the Psychology group chat were sending photos of our beds with our soft toys lying there. Needless to say, I was the only one with a Minion and a dog in a dress (they were a gift my grandma and great-aunt, okay?). Our teddy bears and soft toys seem to have some sort of beneficial psychology impact on us, even as adults! It's just nice to have them there.

  9. Boxes and Baskets
    They will make organising and storing your stuff much easier. Handy when you need to move in and out of accommodation throughout the next few years to, and it will make your room cleaner than having items scattered or piled all over the place.

  10. Colour Catcher
    These get thrown into the washing machine with your clothes and they stop colours from mixing together so that you don't have to do two separate washes for coloured and white clothes. You can often get two goes from a single sheet depending on your load. They work really well. Great when your uni runs their machines on Circuit Laundry. You can get these from Wilko.

  11. Your Favourite Cooldown Activity
    Your wellbeing is essential so I would say that this definitely is as well. This could be anything from your musical instrument, art supplies, a journal, a word search book, a bike, sports equipment - whatever it is that will help you take your mind off work. Obviously, you can't bring your pet to uni with you (boo!), but there's always Pets As Therapy if your uni invites them in. If not, how about becoming a volunteer dog walker or pet sitter?

  12. Squishy
    You're probably thinking: 'Aimee... They're for kids', but I disagree! They are actually quite therapeutic! My favourite ones are the round-ish shaped animal ones or anything with a smiley face (the Panda one came from Typo for £2). You can squash them in all different directions and end up creating some really funny-shaped creations which slowly bounce right back! It may not completely get rid of your worries or thoughts but may district you for a split second - try it. They make good decorations to!

  13. Medical Kit
    Being ill when your close to exam season, have what seems like 15 assignments due in, or when you're working is a pain. We all know the pain of those times when your heel is sore from your shoes and you wish you had a plaster on you also, or when you're sitting in a lecture with a splitting headache. Creating an easily accessible medical kit with assorted plasters, Lemsip, paracetamol, hay fever tablets, herbal remedies, and whatever else you require will come in handy. I like to keep a mini wallet of basic items in my bag at all times for wherever I go to.

  14. Waterproof Basket (with holes)
    This point is mainly for those who are living in accommodation with a shared bathroom, or if your bathroom happens to have no storage space. Instead of scrambling for all of your toiletries only to forget something when you get into the bathroom and having them slip out of your hand whilst getting your clothes wet on the way back to your room, you can keep them in a basket. Just grab and go. Simples.

  15. Boxes for Food
    Here we go with the boxes again. Each time before the start of a new Term you should prepare a box of freezable dinner so that you have enough for one per a week (my Mum does this for me because I can't make the kind of stuff I would usually eat at home 😊). There's usually one day during the week when you will finish lectures quite late or something unexpected comes up that doesn't give you enough time to make a decent dinner. This will prevent you from eating rubbish. Also, you don't always (probably won't) have time to go home for lunch if you live on off-campus accommodation. This is where Tupperware comes in. It's better than using plastic bags and your food won't get squashed this way.

  16. Slippers/ Easy-to-Put-On Shoes
    All I'm going to say here is 3am fire alarms. They will wake (much rather scare the life out of) you up and you will be out of your mind for a good five seconds before realising that you need to hurry up and get out of the building because the fire alarm is going off.

  17. Some Cute Decor
    Attempt to make your room feel at least a bit homely. Fairy lights, cacti (a personal favourite!), some of your favourite ornaments, photos, mood board, posters; maybe even a rug. This is something that I want to try to make more of an effort to do in the upcoming academic year. Have fun decorating your room! Hopefully this will make you feel a little bit better and less homesick. Be careful not to overdo it though - remember that you will have to pack up everything at the end of the year!

  18. Colander
    These are one of those items that a lot of students forget yet will end up using almost every day. Draining pasta, washing vegetables and fruit, holding food before cooking it, and probably a whole lot more!

  19. Air Freshener
    Student accommodation doesn't have good circulation. You are quite literally stuck in a box. At Warwick (and I presume many other universities) the windows barely open to for health and safety reasons. Then if you're uncomfortable being in the kitchen like me, you will end up eating in your room as well but smells from the kitchen will sneak in either way. When you're unable to leave your windows open for long enough an air freshener is the next best thing.

  20. Unidays!
    This is a student discount app. When you first get it, it will direct you to your uni portal and ask you to login to confirm that you are registered. They have all sorts of discounts on a variety of categories.

If I've missed out anything that you think should be one here, you can leave it in the comments below.
Again, well done and have a restful last few weeks of Summer before all the hard work begins!

Friday, 16 August 2019

1st Year Review: Education Studies


Here's part II of my Year 1 Academic Review! You can view my Psychology one here.

Cliparts.co
As my degree title is 'Psychology with Education Studies' this means that the weighting of the two courses are different. Whilst Psychology makes up 75% of my degree, Education Studies makes up the remaining 25%.

This essentially means that I only take 30 credits (out of 120) worth of Education Studies modules per a year (with the exception of Year 3 where I will get a choice of whether to take an additional Education or Psychology module or a module from another department).

This year both were compulsory foundational modules.


Theories of Learning
Contact hours: 3hrs per a week (Term 1 only)
Assessment: Essay assignment

This covered key theorists' theories and perspectives of how we learn from early years up to adulthood.

  • Behaviourism - its historical emergence, theories of conditioning and Behaviourist theorists; application to different stages of learning.
  • Cognitivism - how it differs from Behaviourism, cognitive development (incl. Piaget), Constructivism, adaptation in relation to learning.
  • Social Constructionism - constructivism vs. contructionism, Vygotsky and the role of the teacher', social relationships and environment, language development; problem solving.
  • Social Learning Theory - Bandura and Bronfenbrenner; importance to factors external to school/ individual's immediate circle.
  • Psychoanalysis - Freud's stages of psychosexual development, the Iceberg Analogy, personality, and emotions.
  • Humanism - Montessori education, Maslow's Motivational Model, Rogers.
  • Contemporary Theories of Learning - adult vs. child learning, barriers to learning, influence of adult education, the propose of education, Expansive Learning; key skills developed in contemporary education.

We looked into so many theorists so I didn't want to include them all, but this should be enough to give you a gist of the kind of content that was covered. Each week, we also discussed and evaluated the issues of each theory, how they can apply to different stage of learning, and reflected on our own learning experience in relation to these different theories.



Education Today 
Contact hours: 3hrs per a week (Term 2 only)
Assessment: 2hr Exam (essay based)

Looks at what education means and its role in contemporary society.

  • Sociological Introduction to Education - philosophical questions surrounding education and roles within it, socio-cultural contexts and social mobility, the concept of meritocracy and a little on politics.

  • The Structure of the Education System (focusing on the UK) - government aims, educational policies and current ideologies, educational documents, and global competition.

    Pixabay
  • School Curricula - what the curriculum consists of, how they can be perceived, different types of curricula (e.g.: hidden and formal curricula), their purpose and how they reflect policies, and challenging multi-cultural representations within the national curriculum.

  • Assessment - the difference between formative and summative assessment, meeting standards vs. learning, styles of assessment, reliability and validity of assessments, and debates surrounding the idea of meritocracy.

  • Assess and inclusion - SEND and education, how access and inclusion is perceived and how that affects the practise of it, the effects of labelling, the educational environment, the 4 Areas of SEND as stated by the Department of Education, and the medical vs. social model of disability.

  • Religious Education -the concept of religion, stages of religious and moral development, content prioritisation, the propose and role of RE; the concept of British values in education.

  • Economics and Education - introduction of areas of economics, history of the economic climate, marketisation, globalisation, neo-liberalism, and the privatisation of education.

  • Intersectionality - I'm not going to lie, I don't know what happened with this lecture. I think what was supposed to be explored was how the combination of different forms of prejudice and discrimination (e.g.: gender and ethnicity) or biases affect educational experiences? Again, I'm not to sure.

  • Social Justice - we looked at the diverse range of school types that exist, considered why we need so many different types, their historical and political developments, autonomy, parentocracy, focused on the increase of academies, free schools, and grammar schools and its effect on autonomy and parentocracy, and admissions criteria.


Before I go ahead, I want you to know that this review doesn't represent CES (Centre for Education Studies) as a whole.
Remember that this is only 25% of my degree and it's new for them to be working with another department as this is a new course which was introduced this year. Therefore, there are going to be issues which do need to (and will) be addressed. Those on the BA Education Studies degree will have a very different perspective.



Assessment and Feedback
  • One of the main differences between Education Studies and Psychology is that in Psychology I felt that I had the opportunity to make mistakes and be able to learn from them. This was something that I mentioned in last week's post. However, the Education Studies modules are assessed by 100% through either an essay assignment OR an exam (also essay based). This means that if I screw up, then that's that. I would not get another opportunity. I have (literally) failed a few psychology assignments, but as modules were not 100% assessed through one piece of work, I was given the chance to learn from those errors and redeem myself.

    TeroVesalainen | Pixabay
  • What made this even more stressful was that I had not received enough individual formative feedback to make sure that I was understanding the information and doing the correct research to meet the expectations of the department. The only feedback of this kind I received was from the (summative) Theories of Learning assignment, but that module was very much psychology based anyway. Although seminars/ group work within seminars count as formative feedback in the department, without receiving feedback from physical pieces of properly written work, it's hard to tell whether we were meeting the level of written communication required in the department. Considering that all work that we submit towards out degree are essays, this is quite important. Even submitting one paragraph here and there would have made a difference.

  • For this reason, I still don't know how to write and structure a good degree level social studies essay. I haven't been able to explore different writing styles to see which one works best. It's all very much trial and error, and the way I write in Psychology doesn't work well for Education Studies.

  • Nevertheless, feedback that I did receive from the assignment (it was the first ever essay I wrote for uni!) was very detailed and clear and it gave me an idea of general things to be cautious of when writing academic essays.

  • Consistent criteria set by the department when it comes to marking work. This is split up into several sections. Again, it would have been helpful if I had more pieces of work to make comparisons against and to be able to figure out more clearly where my strengths and weaknesses lie.



    Structure of Year 1
  • Learning objectives could have been clearer in the 2nd module. I didn't firmly know what I was supposed to understand and delve further into until the revision lecture. To be fair, this is kind of my fault for only realising this until Easter break as I was revising. Having the revision lecture pointers as the learning objectives would have helped immensely as they were really informative.

  • Only covered the very minimal - wasn't made aware of how much extra reading I had to do. I didn't do anywhere near as much as I was supposed to and didn't realise until the revision lecture in Term 3... Having to cram in and rely on.

  • Timing issues in the organisation of the lectures/ seminars. It happens. The only problem was that lectures over-ran into the afternoon seminar, or we would spend way too long on one PowerPoint slide. Sometimes I couldn't quite work out whether I was in a seminar or lecture.


    Of course, there are some positives to!


  • Like Psychology did, this year gave us a really broad outline of various areas of education studies.

  • As a result, we were able to discuss and debate a broad range of issues facing education from a range of perspectives. These were quite thought-provoking.

  • Covered the whole spectrum from early years to adult education.

  • Not a criticism but I am a little sad that I didn't get the chance to explore some other year 1 modules like the 'Creativity, Culture, and Learning one!



    Other General Comments
  • There are feedback forms at the end of each module which we fill out on-line. Unlike with Psychology, I don't know much about what happens with these, but perhaps it is discussed with home department students.

  • Each module is made up of 3 hours of contact hours a week. CES tends to arrange this so that that all 3 hours are completed on the same day, and sometimes in a 3-hour block. There are a few which are split up into different days but the majority of them are all in one day. I suppose you just get it over and done with, so for some people this is convenient. Personally, I like to be able to go away for a few days and consolidate what I already know for the next lecture otherwise everything becomes a bit mushy in my brain. Therefore, this doesn't work too well for me. It all depends on how you work through your work best.

  • There tended to be quite a lot of 'in your lecture with x' or 'in x module' comments as there are bound to be overlaps. However, when this did happen, us Psychology students kind of sat there and just looked at each other because we had no idea what they were on about. A brief overview would have been nice.

  • Whilst there were a lot of group discussions taking place, I did find that there was a segregation between CES and Psychology students.  It would have been nice to engage with the CES students more and get to know them as they all seem like really friendly people.

  • Lecturers are friendly and are genuinely interested in what they teach. It shows clearly in the way they speak in their presentations.

  • Book recommendations are provided after every lecture.

  • In 'Education Today' we were taught by a range of academics alongside our main two. This allowed us to gain knowledge from someone who specialised in that area and get a good insight into the content of 2nd and 3rd year module options. It was also nice to be able to meet some of the other academics of CES.


I definitely believe that if I was taking the BA Education Studies course alone, this review would be very different. Some of these points will be inevitable if you take a joint degree course. As I have already mentioned, this is a new course this year, so adaptations will need to be made.

I'm not sure where I stand with Education Studies as of yet. The plan is to think it through, possibly speak to a few academics in CES, and see what happens with timetabling and module choices.

HOWEVER, if  I do choose to continue with Education Studies, I'm looking very forward to Year 2 and 3 modules. A lot of them sound so interesting, and I think that I will enjoy them a lot more (that's not to say that I didn't enjoy the content this year). It will be great to be able to have a clearer focus and study those aspects of Education which we have a personal interest in.


That's my 1st Year academic review complete! 


I'm not going to do a social one as I'm still working on that (nothing to be ashamed of 😅), but there will be an accommodation one up sometime in Term 1! I thought that it would be good to do a comparison of student accommodation vs off campus housing.

Ummm... Not really sure how to sign this off (commence flashbacks to every essay written).

I guess I'm just going to say bye 👋 (unless you're off to check out some of my other posts, then enjoy!), and hope you have a good weekend.

Thursday, 8 August 2019

1st Year Review: Psychology

I realised the Psychology section of this is really long, so I will write up the Education Studies part in a separate post for next week.

I'm not sure if anyone is going to bother reading this as it's mainly for myself to look back on, and for anyone who might be interested in what a Psychology degree can consist of. I know that there are a lot of misconceptions about the general field. However, if you're thinking about choosing to take psychology as a degree, check out this post where I gave some pointers to why you should consider studying in the Psychology Department at Warwick.

Now, before I start freaking you all out with the amount of work we have had to do, there won't be as many assignments/ coursework-related pieces in Year 2 or Year 3. It seems like a lot, but it is manageable if you kept on top of your work, notes, and reading. If not, then you would have found yourself in a sticky situation but that generally applies to all university work in general. Personally, I think that it's really beneficial that we had so many assignments in 1st year. Which sounds crazy, because why would you want extra work when it's hard enough as it is? I'll talk more about that at the end of this post.

There's a lot of fit in here, so here's how I'm going to (try) to organise this:
  • I will start with a brief overview of the terms at Warwick and how these were organised in Psychology,
  • Then move onto giving you an insight into the contact hours, assessment, and content covered within each module followed by a brief personal comment at the end of each of them;
  • Then I will move onto talking about what I thought about the way Year 1 was structured,
  • Followed by some other general comments about the teaching/ lectures/ seminars, and
  • Finally, I will end with what I enjoyed the most (and least!).


How are Terms/Trimesters/Semester Structured?
 
At Warwick we have 3 Terms (yes, we still call them that at Warwick) each lasting 10 weeks. Students taking a BA course usually get a reading week in week 6 of Term 1 and Term 2. However, Psychology is considered a science at Warwick, so we didn't get one.

For Psychology, Terms 1 and 2 covered all the content in every module and the majority of assignments were completed in those terms. In Year 1, all modules were compulsory and ran across both terms. Term 3 consisted of 4 weeks of revision lectures to recap content and to provide us with some exam techniques and tips. We also had a few assignments left to complete as well, but they were completed before exams started.



Psychology Modules

Psychology in Context

Contact hours: 1hr lecture per week + two 1hr seminars for each section (excl. History of Psychology - 2hr lecture).
Assessment: An assignment per section (noted below) + 1 essay per section in exam.

This was a quite a challenging module mainly due to the pace and structure of the lectures. It was one of those modules which you had to stay on top of. You miss a week of reading or notes it would have been difficult to make time to go over them amongst all your other work and content from the following lecture, causing a never-ending build up. To make this clearer I will give you a breakdown.

This module was split up onto 4 sections. We only had 5 weeks per a section as follows:


  • DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY (assignment: essay)

    Of course, I loved this section! We focused on the principle debate of nature vs. nurture and different explanations (behavioural, cognitive, and biological) of physical and cognitive development prenatally, during infancy, and through childhood. Within that we explored Piaget vs. Vygotsky's theories of learning, visual preferences and perceptions (e.g.: violation of expectations and facial recognition), abilities to complete cognitive tasks (e.g.: classification and conservation tasks) with a focus on Piaget's stages of cognitive development, models of information processing, attachment theories, and the development of play and gender identities.

    I found the stuff on prenatal senses really interesting. We also touched a tiny bit on language development, which I found so intriguing. One study we looked at found that babies cry in rhythm and pitch of their native language! I'll stop there before I go on a tangent about how interesting I find language development, thought this does make a part of me wish I had chosen to take a part linguistics degree.


  • HISTORY of PSYCHOLOGY (assignment: on-line test)

    This was the most content heavy section by far, which is probably why we had 2hr lectures for this one instead.

    We looked at the roots of psychology from philosophical theories from empiricism and rationalism to phrenology, the current view of Psychology as a scientific field, the study of intelligence and consciousness, paradigm shifts between Behaviourism and Cognitivism, artificial intelligence, and the current Replication Crisis.

    The pace of the lectures along with the amount of content involved was a struggle for me. That definitely showed in the on-line test, but I think (hope!) that I reclaimed myself in the exam! I did have to end up going over the content after every lecture. Despite that it took forever to do it was worth it to be able to dig a little deeper into how these theories came about and how the field has changed since its philosophical roots.


  • CHALLENGING PERSPECTIVES in PSYCHOLOGY (assignment: content analysis report)

    Due to the view of psychology as a science, most of what we had covered in the Research Methods module was is quantitative methods.

    This therefore highlighted the use of the qualitative technique/paradigm in psychology, covering debates and critical analysis of the two contrasting paradigms. We covered ethnography, interviews, focus groups, content analysis, thematic analysis, and participant-generated textual data.

    It really helps you to appreciate how much skill and time is required in order to plan, conduct, and analyse data derived from such methodologies. It makes me wonder why the qualitative paradigm was focused on so much during A-Level without specifying just how complex it really is. Doesn't do it justice.


  • PSYCHOLOGY of MEMORY (assignment: weekly on-line test)

    This was a mix of build-up of sections of cognitive psychology from A-Level and some completely new material.

    We looked at the classic approaches of memory (incl. Atkinson and Shiffrin's Model of Memory, Baddeley's Working Memory Model, Bartlett's Reconstructive view), philosophical analogues of memory, the causes and impacts of different types of amnesia (incl. childhood, psychogenic, and organic), different types of mnemonics centralised around imagery, and the role of emotion in memory (e.g.: flashbulb memories, and the impact of mood and states at retrieval and encoding).


I had covered none of this material before coming to Warwick, expect a few of the theories in the Memory section. However, a lot of my peers were familiar with a lot more of the content covered in Memory, Developmental, and Challenging Perspective modules than I appeared to be. The main reason for this is that the majority of students took AQA Psychology for A-Level or the IB Diploma, whereas I took it with Edexcel whose specification didn't cover as much breadth of topics. Additionally, I wasn't actually taught the qualitative research methods stuff. We were told to cover it ourselves using the textbook, and that's not enough considering its complexity. So, it was a challenge not already having a basis to work with, but it was all quite interesting!



Brain and Behaviour

Contact hours: 3hrs lectures per week
Assessment: on-line tests for each section (2-part multiple choice questions) + exam (same format)

As with Psychology in Context, this module was split up into 4 sections, consisting of 5 weeks each. It also provided us with an introduction to the biological basis of behaviour, which will then be built upon in Year 2.

  • INTRODUCTION to PSYCHOBIOLOGY
    Ahmed Gad | Pixabay
    Covered the foundations of brain and behaviour. I found that those who took A-Level / IB Biology naturally found this section more straightforward than those (including myself) who didn't.
    We started with the basics of nervous systems, neurons, neurotransmitters, synapses, electrical and chemical transmission, information processing, and brain structures and their functions.
    We then delved into areas such as psychopharmacology, brain and neural development, implications involved in PTSD, critical periods in brain and skill development, and the impact of ageing.


  • SENSING, RESPONDING, and LEARNING
    Firstly, we covered the basics of stimuli in eliciting behavioural responses, dispelling the myths of reflexes focusing on eye movements; types of learning and the neural mechanisms of them.
    Following that, we examined a lot on Pavlovian learning and dispelled some misconceptions about it, it's role in predicting behaviour, how it can be used in application to taste aversions and drug tolerance, and the neural mechanisms in how the theory is used to creates new stimulus-response relationships.

  • NEIROPSYCHOLOGY of LEARNING, MEMORY, EMOTION, and LANGUAGE
    ElisaRiva | Pixabay
    This started with learning about types of memories, learning through reinforcement, punishment and trial and error, habit formation, skill learning, neurological conditions caused by damage to different cortex areas, and how we (appear to) unlearn things.
    We then looked into research into different theories of emotion with a focus on threat conditioning, and the role of cortical brain regions in creating specific connections.
    Finally, we extended to exploring lateralisation and how language differs between hemispheres, and learned about different types of aphasia (language disorders), models of language, and the impact of lesioned cortical areas on language.

  • PSYCHOPATHOLOGY
    Half of this was pretty much in line with knowledge that most of us has already acquired prior to coming to uni, though some of it was new information (for me, anyway): Mood disorders (depressive and bipolar disorders), different types of anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, and personality disorders (borderline and antisocial personality disorders).
    Within those we also studied a brief history of mental disorders and the stigma surrounding them, statistics surrounding specific disorders, symptoms as stated by the DSM-V for each specific disorder within the broader classifications, neurological impacts, risk factors, and past and current treatments (medical and psychological).

Despite not being too much of a science person, I did really enjoy this module. I didn't find Biological psychology at A-Level the most interesting thing, but this has defiantly changed my opinion. All the lectures organised the content really well. Although there was a lot of information to get to grips with, they were brilliant at explaining the content so clearly and concisely so that we wouldn't be too overly loaded. They would also stop at certain points to make sure that we were following okay, which was great.

Part 2 of the MCQs were a great way of testing how well we had understood the material by testing whether we could apply what we had learned to a range of unseen scenarios. This was helpful in helping us to identify areas in which we need to put more thought into.



A lot of Year 1 was also based on teaching us the fundamental practical and written elements of psychology, so there were quite a few modules which concentrated purely on research and psychological skills in comparison to Year 2 and Year 3.


Research Methods

Contact hours: 1hr lecture + 2hrs practical per week.
Assessment: 3 mini practical reports, SPSS class exam, 1st year research report, presentation of the report, and research experience.

We started with the basics of handling data using Excel and SPSS (a software used to analyse and create visual representations of data), data collection, how to write and format practical/research reports, referencing and researching, experimental design. We then moved onto reporting and conducting statistical tests using SPSS and learned how to choose the correct appropriate test to use. We studied correlations, chi-squared, t-tests, and ANOVA's. These were helpfully organised so that it also aligned with the statistical tests being taught on in our Statistics module that week.

For the practical reports, we conducted replications of studies. We started with ones whereby we simply had to analyse central tendency to get us used to writing reports and the structure of them, to having to conduct repeated measure ANOVAs. The mini reports allowed us to make mistakes, and we were given detailed and structured feedback telling us exactly what we did well and what we required improvement on. Therefore, by the time it got to having to research, implement, collect, analyse and present data, and write up our big 1st Year Report, we were well-practised.

I actually really enjoyed writing the reports up. Research methods used to be my weakest area of psychology, yet it shockingly turned out to be my best performing module. You learn so much about what psychology is about from this module and I'm so glad that we're given the opportunity to be able to practically explore such a principle part of the field rather than just sit and learn the theory.



Statistics

Contact hours: 1 hr lecture + 1 hr seminar following the lecture per a week.
Assessment: 2 assignments + research experience.

This followed research methods every Monday morning, so that was fun for our brains. However, this kept things very consistent so maybe it's not such a bad thing.

I don't really know how to tell you what content was involved. It's pretty much self-explanatory, but here's the link to the module page for a better outline than the one that I would have provided.

This must be such a challenging module to figure out how to teach when you have students with varying degrees of abilities when it comes of maths. The thing with stats is that it's one of those ones where there's only a limited way you can present the required information. It's just there. Explaining something to a student who doesn't quite understand a certain part must be hard to do also, as a result. Nevertheless, both the lecturers who taught it this year somehow managed it. There were points during the lecturers where the way in which they communicated to us lifted the mood and they even managed to make us laugh about stats! Of course, there are times when your brain goes a bit numb, but frequent practise and taking breaks when your brain goes foggy often does the trick! All in all, it was nowhere near as bad as I thought it would be. (I'll see whether that opinion remains this time next year 😂!)



Research Experience

Contact hours: see below.
Assessment: 15 hours of taking part in psychology studies + mini essay

I promise that you will never underestimate the impact of the fatigue effect ever again when you take part in a study which appears to go on forever, but it has to be done. Saying that, a lot of the studies I took part in were quite interesting once you were given the debrief information on the aims of the studies. They ranged from looking at language structure, language recognition, gestus, predicting decisions, mental health, lie detection, gaming... The list goes on!

Things went a little bit wrong with some of the studies this year. The joy of technical issues! We also had a leak in one of the lab's due to the heavy rainfall we got in the Midlands, so studies would have to be cancelled and rearranged. This meant that in Term 3 some of us were still left with 50% of hours which still needed completing. Considering that they only ran in the first three weeks of Term 3, that was quite stressful as not completing a few studies (or the alternative tasks if they were missed) would have had quite a large impact on your mark. The mini-essay also caused some confusion and could have been a lot clearer, but that's now been made aware and I trust that it will be sorted for next year.

Nevertheless, props to the students/ academics running the studies as the majority of them did well with keeping us updated.

That being said, I do think that physically taking part in studies a great way to apply our analytical research skills and it gave us a good idea of how studies should be run and, in some cases, how they should not be run!



Academic Skills for Psychologists

Contact hours: 1hr lecture + 1hr seminar per week
Assessment: 2 on-line tests, blog post/video and interview schedule, and critical review.

Focused on critical thinking and scientific research in Psychology. We were taught effective note taking strategies, how to comprehend and analyse information presented in research articles, essay planning and writing, referencing and how to avoid plagiarism (there's a lot more to it than you would expect!), assessing the use of evidence in research, exam techniques, and how to manage exam stress. We also had lectures which looked into increasing practical skills and knowledge outside of contact hours such as work experience, volunteering, and study abroad options.

This was all incredibly helpful in addressing the massive leap between school and university academia. To be clearly told this and taught how to effectively practise academic skills at degree level eased that daunting transition.

Note: If you follow me on Instagram you will have seen this. One of the lovely PhD student's who taught a seminar group for this module kindly recommended this book to us. She called it her 'undergraduate bible'. After reading it, I can see why! Critical thinking is a is a vital skill that you will need to develop in essay writing and research. It's a complex concept to grasp, but this book makes it so much easier to understand!



Tutorials

Contact hours: 1hr every 2 weeks (+ individual meetings when necessary)

I will talk more about what tutorials are in a separate post, but it's a small group meeting with your assigned personal tutor and some of your peers. Every department and tutor will structure this differently and some may not even set tutorials at all. This year there was a mix between material which tutors were set, whilst other times it was a general meeting to covering anything that any of us wanted to bring up.

Pxhere | CC0 1.0
Set material was often related to delivering presentations, research skills, academic skills, and exam techniques. Sometimes we would talk about wellbeing, have a chat about in progress or upcoming assignments, or shared interesting bits of research with each other. Other times we had a general catch up to see what and how everyone was doing, whether that be talking about society/volunteering events, what we thought about current lectures, what we got up to during our break or the weekend; goldfish if we wanted to. Pretty much anything that came up.

Although my tutor was new to the department, she is brilliant at addressing any of our concerns. With every problem that we raised she would get into contact with the necessary member of department and get straight back to us with a solution. She was also on top of it when it came to signposting us to various resources in the department, university, and online, and constantly welcomed us into her office if we needed a chat. That's really helpful for those of us who need a bit more than a one-off encouragement. It was actually quite nice as we would be learning things together as a whole group.

Some people find group tutor meetings pointless and awkward, but I have a lovely group and we always had a conversation going. Personally, I think these tutor meetings are really useful and quite reassuring.


Additional Module(s)
  1. Those taking straight BSc Psychology also had the option of either taking a module called 'Psychology in the Real World' or taking one from another faculty/ course. I can't speak for Psych in the Real World as...
  2. Those taking Psychology with Linguistics/ Education Studies took compulsory modules from the relevant department.


Comments About the Structure of 1st Year
  • By having all of these assignments, it gave us the chance to be able to make mistakes to then be able to improve in the next assignment of a similar nature, and probably make so more mistakes, and so on. I felt that I learned a lot more and a lot better this way.

  • It also meant that we could apply all these new skills to see how much we had got to grips with them. With so many chances, it was okay if we made errors as it enables us to continue refining the way we applied them until we got it right.

  • Additionally, this gave us the chance to keep refraining our writing style to meet academic requirements. You need the chance to be able to make mistakes and learn from them. If your grade for a module was dependent on a single assignment or exam and you hadn't received any previous feedback, there would be a lot of pressure to get it right as soon as possible, especially for 1st Year. I will talk about this more when I get to the Education Studies review.

  • With research and statistics being an essential part of psychology, I think it is a really good thing that fundamental research skills and statistics are covered in depth during 1st Year. That way, by the time we get into Year 2, there's no need to worry about it all and the more complex stuff will follow on. For many new students, they are the areas which cause the most concern, so the earlier they are addressed, the better.

  • The same goes for Academic Skills, which I've already explained. It's such a beneficial addition to the degree and made the transition more manageable. 

  • We were still given a good sense into various topics which we may choose to cover in future modules through the Psychology in Context and Brain and Behaviour modules.


General Comments
  • These modules alone have taught me so much more about what psychology is about and what is involved in the discipline.

  • I really enjoyed the diverse range of assignments that we were provided with.

  • Critical thinking. I finally understand what it means and what's involved.

  • Learned how to structure and write better academic essays. This still needs work but we're making progress!

  • I cannot account for one time that I was taught by a lecturer who did not seem engaged in what they were teaching. It's clear that they have enthusiasm for their specialised areas.

  • There's a lot more next year, but the breadth of content just from this year has already given me a good gist of what areas of psychology are for me, and which aren't (see below)


What Did I Enjoy the Most and Least?

Whilst there wasn't anything that I completely didn't enjoy...
  • Philosophy is not my thing. I can try, but I'm no good at it.

  • Statistics isn't that bad once you know what you're doing (or maybe I'm just kidding myself?). Regardless, it's always a great feeling when you get a stats question correct!

  • Same goes for research. Research methods used to be my worst performing area at A-Level psychology or not. Shockingly, it turned out to be my best this year! It's actually so fascinating to read up findings and apply those critical thinking skills!

  • I'm still bad at writing essays which are research methods focused despite being quite capable at the practical elements.

  • Biological stuff - it's great. A year ago, that wouldn't have been the answer. It goes to show how much difference the delivery and content can make.

  • I can now confirm that memory and computational-anything is a big no no for me. I've never done well in those areas of cognitive psychology.

  • Still love anything Developmental Psychology or language and communication related. I think it's safe to say that I enjoy those aspects the most, which is a relief as it's given me some direction.


That's my Psychology Review! As you can tell, there was a lot that we covered in just 20 weeks. Looking back at it like this, I don't know how we all managed it. I'm kind of looking forward to what's in store for 2nd Year.

Sometime before the new academic year starts, I'll do a post about my 2nd Year plans, academic and personal.

I'll leave it here for now as this is already too long!
Check back next week if you're interested to see what I covered in Education Studies. I promise you that it will be much shorter as I only took 2 modules!

Wednesday, 31 July 2019

Pets As Therapy (PAT)

Links included in this post can be found on and will direct you to the PAT website in a new tab.

Links to journal articles from various websites will be included also. Unfortunately, links to journal articles will not be open access and you will need a login to be able to read the whole article if you wish to do so. However, the abstracts should provide you will enough detail to get a general gist of aim(s) of the study, method(s), participants and results.


What is PAT?
Pet's As Therapy is a charity made up of volunteers, who through their services aim to have a positive impact on the wellbeing of those they visit. The services that they provide is very valuable to a range of people regardless of their age or any special requirements. That's of course unless you have a fear of dogs or cats!

The Benefits of Animal Therapy
We all love spending time with our beloved pets. They are something we can look forward to after a long day, they will sit there and listen to us rant on and you can trust them not to say anything to anyone else (expect maybe each other if they have a buddy to live with!), and they are too cute not to have cuddles with when you're feeling a bit low.

If you read last week's post or follow me on Instagram, you may remember coming across my own fluffy buddies. Bubbles (left) and Squeak (right) are my guinea piggies. I got them as a pressie for doing well in my GCSEs. They turned 3 this year!

The Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) and Cohen Research Group conducted a survey with 2,000 pet owners in 2016, with pet owners suggesting that owning a pet has positive benefits on their own mental health (74%) or that of a family member (75%). This survey also found that 88%  agreed that health professions should recommend getting a pet to encourage 'healthier living'.

Recently, you may have seen several news articles talking about the physical and psychological benefits of animals on humans. Researchers have found several benefits of pets and animal therapy, including:

  • Releases calming hormones whilst reducing stress hormones
  • Also helps to lower blood pressure as a result
  • Can help to combat loneliness by providing social stimulation
  • Increases use of motor coordination
  • Encourages the development of social skills such as communication
  • May aid in reducing the effects of negative mental health (e.g.: depression and anxiety)

Temperament Assessments
In order to become a volunteer with PAT, all dogs and cats must undergo a temperament assessment. Through testing how they may react to a range of scenarios and stimuli, it helps to ensure that they will be comfortable and suitable to cope with the environments in which they may volunteer within. This also assess the owner's ability to maintain control over their dog/cat, all of which is vital for the health and safety of volunteers and clients. These temperament assessments may be slightly more challenging for cats given their curious nature and possibly differing reactions to human contact in comparison to dogs. More can be found on the temperament assessments by clicking on the links below:

  • Factsheet: PAT temperament assessment (dogs)
  • Factsheet: PAT temperament assessment (cats)

Once volunteers are ready, they receive their official badges. I didn't realise this until one of the volunteers showed me, but the cats and dogs even have their own ID's attached to their collars (how cute!).

All dogs and cats must also have had certain vaccinations before volunteering and even have to be on a diet which does not consist of raw meat for further health and safety precautions. As you can tell PAT are strict on maintaining high standards of health and safety and safeguarding.

If you are interested, more information on these policies and further factsheets
can be found on the hyperlink attached.


PAT Sessions
I have been to 2 PAT sessions at Warwick, each lasting 10 minutes. The first time was in Term 1, arranged as part of the Study Happy initiative run by our library team at Warwick. I volunteered as a Wellbeing Ambassador where I helped to promote World Kindness Day during the PAT visit.

I can't remember the dog's name (oops...), but I will insert a photo of him on the left. I'm not going to lie, my memory of Term 1 and 2 is non-existent. All I remember is having a really nice conversation with the owner about something, although I have no memory of what it was about at all.

The second session I attended was in Term 3 a week before my first exam. This time it was arranged as an exam season destress activity by the Psychology Department. I thought that I would sign up to get myself out of my room since it was the first week of having no lectures and took it as a chance to be able to have a chat with someone. I had a great time hanging out with Daisy and her owner. I didn't manage to get a photo this time round but here is one of her taken by Warwick Library.

Daisy is a rescue dog, who is relatively new to the PAT team. She was found running around on a motorway somewhere in Hertfordshire. I think her owner mentioned that she was only 2 years old. Daisy was so calm and gentle.

Her owner was really friendly, and it was so lovely to be able to have a chat with someone as well. We spoke about the psychology department, first year of uni in general, volunteering and my difficulty with finding a volunteering placement for the Summer, and some more about Daisy. She told me how her and Daisy frequently visits care homes to provide the elderly some companionship. She also takes part in the Red2Dogs scheme, where she will sit to children and let them read to her. This helps children with their literacy skills and communication as reading to dogs is a lot less intimidating than reading to a human. Pet therapy has also been found to be beneficial for many SEND children who struggle with reading aloud.

If you're a Warwick student you will probably already know Ben-G. PAT volunteer Ben-G is probably the most famous PAT dog at Warwick. Along with campus cat, Rolf, he became one of the faces of Warwick's Library Study Happy campaign. We love having the PAT volunteers around!


I've never been to a PAT cat session, so in case you're not a dog person, here are some photos of cats!

They're not trained but spending time with any of your pets or favourite animals can make a good therapy session! Carmen (left) was my Aunt's cat who is now with an elderly lady in need of some companionship and Milly (right) is a neighbourhood cat who likes to sneak into our garden for some pats and cuddles! Aren't they both beautiful?



As PAT is a charity, any amount of donation can go a long way to support their services.
You can make donations through:
  • Their JustGiving page on their website;
  • Text message, by texting PATS01£(amount) to 70070, OR
  • You can become a PAT Supporter.

Or if you have a cat or dog who may fit the role and you would like to get into some volunteering, why not consider joining the PAT team? Again, more information and their social media accounts can be located on their website.

🐟🐹🦆🐶 An animal can really be a person's best friend! 🐱🐇🐭🐸

Wednesday, 24 July 2019

30 Student Struggles

Note: I am aware that the placing of the images is a bit dodgy and that some of the numbers are overlapping with the
images to. I'm having a few technical issues on here at the moment and intend to sort it out eventually!

Besides the daunting moment of sitting in bed and suddenly remembering that we're only 18 and acquiring debts possibly up to £60,000+ until we're 50-years-old or so, there are many other struggles that all students can identify with.

Also, just to clarify before anyone gives me the talk about how being a student is nothing compared to being a 'proper adult', this is not a post intended to complain about student life. It is just a fun (though not fun at the times) post of some very classic (yet genuine) struggles that students can relate to and look back on.

With that  made clear, here are 30 struggles that the majority of students will encounter!

  1. Price of Textbooks
    They are SO expensive. The shock that you get when an essential textbook for the module costs over £50 or even £100. Of course, the library resources are there for a reason. The issue here is that...

  2. Borrowing Books from the Library
    They only have a 2 week loan (usually). Only a few days maximum for those in high demand. This isn't an issue if you can keep renewing them or if it's needed one-off, but when there are loads of students taking the module with only 6 or so textbooks available, they usually get recalled before you're able to do so. Let's be real, this isn't convenient when you need to read a chapter a week for a whole term.

    Peggy & Marco | Pixabay
  3. Circuit Laundry
    Laundry was the least of my worries, yet it was a nightmare to deal with. Circuit Laundry didn't help the situation at all. They were constantly breaking down, so there was always at least one machine not functioning. When there's only 4 machines per a whole accommodation block (300+ students in some cases) you can imagine how difficult it is to find a free washing machine. Prepare to stand there and wait for 20 minutes for someone's cycle to finish because it's the only way you stand a chance of getting your clothes washed.

  4. Research and (APA) Referencing
    Researching and finding the right material/ journal articles to include in assignments and as extra reading for exams is one of the most time-consuming parts of most degrees. Having to make sure that the material you pick out is relevant to the question and directly answers the question can be tricky to begin with. Then there's making sure that every reference and citation is perfectly written and formatted, especially when it comes to the nitty-gritty rules of APA. What parts needs to be italicised again? Is it '&' or 'and'?

  5. Reading... Reading... Reading
    Probably the most time-consuming part of most degrees. There's so much reading to do that you will never be able to complete all the required reading for your modules every week. Not much else to say about this!

    via GIPHY
  6. Drunk Students and Noisy Accommodation
    Those 9am lectures are difficult enough without drunk students shouting down your hallway or outside your accommodation block when you're trying to get enough sleep to make it through the day. Don't get me started on hearing doors slamming all through the night. Lectures can be very demanding so you want to be as alert as possible in order to grasp what you can to refrain from unnecessarily having to go through the whole entire lecture again. Definitely not something I am going to miss about living in student halls.

  7. Cooking in a Crowded Kitchen
    I tended to avoid the kitchen if someone else was inside because it made me uncomfortable (anyone else?). Still, there will be times when you can't avoid that. There will be times when you need to cook and almost the whole flat is in the kitchen. It's not something you can plan either as students don't have clear schedules, for instance: your last lecture could end anywhere between 10am to 7pm.

  8. Writing Essays is Really Complicated Task
    Despite having written essays for most of your academic life, you would think that you would know how to write a decent essay by the time you get to uni. Nevertheless, university changes that and you may realise that you don't actually know how to write a proper academic essay. Providing the balance of being concise, yet providing enough analysis and description takes several practises. Also, do I truly know the difference between an introduction vs. a conclusion and how to write them? Apparently not... We'll get there eventually. Each essay is step forward!

  9. Word Counts
    Having to write up a content analysis research report in just 1,500 words... That was a struggle. Or when an essay is on your favourite section and you have so many good ideas you want to include but can't! Other times modules which are not your strong suit face the opposite challenge. Some university departments aren't too bothered, and others will penalise you for each percentage that student go over or under, so you will constantly be checking those word counts!

  10. Synonyms
    You know when you're reading through an assignment and it seems that there's too many of one word and you think 'nah... I have to find another way to put that'? Then you have to start thinking of several different words to replace that one. Even with the basics like: 'and', 'the', and 'but' can seem too much!

  11. Nathan Dumlao  | Unsplash
    Not Being Able to Make It Through the Day Without Coffee/ Tea
    Not one I can relate to because I have a bit of a caffeine fear, however for my fellow students out there who can't live without coffee or tea, this one is for you! Every uni needs a Costa of some sort on campus, or we would end up with a lot of very angry students wandering around campus! Fun little story: I had a friend who tried to give up coffee for 1 week. She lasted 3 days (not bad!). Could you last longer than that?

  12. Taking Notes
    There's two parts to this. First, the speed of lectures can be rough. In some cases, you may find yourself having trouble understanding the remainder of a lecture solely because you haven't understood something on slide 5. If you're confident enough you could put your hand up and ask for alliteration. Luckily for me the Psychology Department here makes use of lecture capture. To be honest, I can't imagine what I would do without it. Regardless, you will eventually get used to finding ways to combat that and you will learn to get quicker at grasping concepts and theories. I do have a post planned about taking notes, although I'm not sure when that will go up yet. Secondly, the distance between the seat and the table can be a struggle, but that's the least of your worries.

  13. Sitting on a Squeaky Chair
    I suppose you could move, but when the lecture hall is almost full or there are other students sitting beside you and you don't want to make them move, you have to bear it. With any slight noise being heard by everyone, the desk usually too far from the seat, and sometimes lectures lasting 2 hours (or more!) it's not exactly the most comfortable position. Despite that, most of us would rather be stiff than irritating our (probably very tired) peers and possibly distracting the lecturer.

  14. Noise in Lectures
    Fresher's flu is a real thing and kind of a pain during Term 1 lectures. Starting uni and not having  a clue what is going on makes it just a bit harder when the majority of students around you are ill. Sure, it's distracting, but it can't be helped. Other than that, you realise how irritating the constant clicking of someone typing on their keyboard is, especially when it's happening above your head. Then you get those students who spend the whole lecture whispering to each other. Please don't!

  15. The Art of Speed Walking
    There are days where I have woken up early and was prepared well in advanced before leaving, only to realise that I have forgotten to do something 10 mins before I'm supposed to leave. Or there's getting paranoid about not making it on time, so you overestimate how long it will actually take to wherever you need to be. Then there's also the bus not turning up on time. The perks of this is that you will gradually manage to cut down the time it takes to get to your lectures by half, i.e.: you get faster at walking.

  16. What Are You Doing After Uni?
    The dreaded question every student doesn't want to hear or answer. It fills us with so much panic. Even if we know, we're likely to not say anything in case things don't go the way they plan to, or if we change our minds. It's probably best to avoid asking it all together.

  17. Work Experience Vs. Paid Work?
    You know that you need to save up for your placement year/ year abroad, to be able to fund a postgrad degree if you need one; accommodation costs. However, a lot of valuable work experience which relates to your career aspirations and which is required for many postgraduate degrees will more than likely be voluntary. Trying to balance academic demands with financial requirements is tricky and so stressful to deal with. 

  18. Wi-Fi Down
    There are all these debates going on about young people being too dependent on the Internet but when you're student everything is on the Internet: all those journal articles we have to read, lecture PowerPoints, worksheets uploaded onto the university learning platforms; group work on Google drive. When the Wi-Fi shuts down when you need to get assignments and research done (or even worse, submit an assignment!) it is quite a big problem!

  19. Sleep is Underrated
    9am lectures should be easy-peasy, right? Truth : they're not, and many lecturers will agree to. University work is demanding, which tires you out more than you can imagine. Then there's societies on top of that, each running for 2 hours in the evening (some more!), hours of rehearsals a week if you take part in performing arts, and there's also volunteering work. Some students also work on top of that. University halls don't help either. You learn to unconsciously suppress the tiredness until it hits you at the end of term. Anyone still recovering from the hours of lost sleep?

  20. Overthinking MCQs (Multiple Choice Questions)
    I can't be the only one who always selects an answer knowing that it's wrong deep down, yet your brain tricks you into somehow logically thinking that it could be correct? MCQs are those which make you really doubt yourself and your understanding, usually as a consequence of overthinking what you already know.

  21. Understanding Statistics
    There's rarely a 'sort of get it' moment when it comes to stats. It's quite black and white: 'I totally get this' or 'what in the world is happening right now' and it can change within less than a second from one to the other. If you're like me and statistics/ maths in general isn't a strong point of yours, when you do understand it, you begin to wonder whether you're just manipulating yourself that well into thinking you do understand when really you don't. I guess the assignment will conclude that.

  22. Questioning Whether You Should Be Doing Something When You're Not
    Am I supposed to be doing an assignment right now? Should I start exam revision even though it's only week 2? Oh no, what deadline am I missing? There's always that paranoia of thinking that you should be doing something more important than, well, anything else other than work.

  23. Tabula Notifications
    IO-Images |
    Pixabay
    If you're not familiar with what Tabula is, it's essentially a platform which is used foradministration purposes (managing student profiles, timetabling, attendance; all that stuff), submitting assignments and receiving feedback. It's usually connected to your uni/student app. It's a really useful tool. The only downside to it is that every time a notification comes up detailing that 'assignment feedback' has been uploaded, you get that sinking feeling that takes you back to those 'your UCAS application has been updated' emails. 

  24. Emailing/ Addressing Academics
    First time is always scary, even with very friendly academics. Usually lecturers tell you how they prefer (or even how they don't want) to be addressed, whether that be by their forename, 'professor' or 'Dr. (surname)' when you first meet them. Choosing between 'dear' and 'hi', or maybe even a 'good morning/evening' and an introduction to start with and a 'many thanks', 'kind regards' or 'best wishes' to end proves more difficult than it should be. I kid you not when it has sometimes taken me 30 mins of reading back over and pondering over whether the email is too formal or needs to be more formal. This usually resolves itself from the reply you get. For instance, you know not to be too formal next time if you get sent a 'cheers' with a 😊 emoji. Eventually, it all comes down to who exactly it is you're emailing and the nature of the email.

  25. Trying Not to Have a Breakdown in Your Personal Tutor's Office
    Do I need to say any more than that? This will happen to a majority of us at least once. It's not that uncommon, so don't be embarrassed!

  26. SU and Society Elections
    Politics at Warwick is quite something. Particularly when it comes to SU elections, they are guaranteed to bring on some serious debates and competition. There's not even an excuse to miss it: speeches being made at the start of your lectures at least three times a week, any bit of clear wall around campus will be covered in candidates' slogans and manifestos, there are banners hanging from the library bridge, poster board stands everywhere, and even these little stringed bits of decorated paper hanging from our (were) pretty trees. It was quite the experience. Is it that intense at other universities to? I've asked some of my sixth form peers and they don't even realise that elections are happening. Or maybe it's another one of those Warwick things?

  27. It Always Feels Like Winter
    If the uni you attend has a green campus, you will understand the satisfaction of seeing all the beautiful flowers blooming everywhere, the bright green trees, and cute little animals running around. It feels like a new place! The problem is that you only get this during the first few weeks of term 1 and during the last few weeks of exam season. Usually, we're treading in soggy leaves and walking into campus damp and cold or sitting in our rooms revising or in an exam hall wishing we could enjoy the bright weather whilst is lasts... Sad times.

  28. Where Does All the Time Go?
    There doesn't seem to be enough hours in a day to get everything done! A lot of us find ourselves starting on a reading/ an assignment, only to look up at the clock to find that 2 hours have already passed by. Completing term 1 and realising that there's only one term left until exam season hits or that you're already halfway through your degree comes at  shock to! I'm not even that old, but I feel like the older I get the quicker time seems to fly by (especially in an exam!). Funny thing considering time doesn't change pace.

  29. Plagiarism - Developing a Fear of Turnitin
    Anyone who has had a plagiarism lecture will understand this. Plagiarism isn't really something students are concerned with to begin with, until you have a whole lecture on it, how to avoid it (it's much more complex than you expect!), and how Turnitin works. From then on, I have had a genuine fear or Turnitin every time I submit an assignment, even knowing that I haven't purposefully plagiarised. Luckily, I haven't been called up for any plagiarism yet so let's hope it stays that way. (Tip: unless your university asks you to submit work through Turnitin DON'T do it. Otherwise, when your lecturers put your work through, it will come up as 100% plagiarised and you don't want that!).

  30. When Secondary/ High School Pupils Relate to Student Memes
    It's a painful thing to see... You want to tell them that they have no clue what's waiting for them, but you decide that it's best to leave them ignorant of all of that for now. They will really understand eventually.

How many of these resonate with you? Are there any obvious ones I have missed? Let me know!

On another note, I hope that Results Day went well for you and that you're now enjoying your Summer! If you have just broken up for the Summer break and you are awaiting A-Level or GCSE results, try and keep yourself distracted to ease the nerves. Make the most out of your well-deserved break!

Next week there will be an extra mini post followed by a review of my year 1 modules the following week, and that's that!