Autumn Favourites 2017!

Wow… it’s been a little while since I’ve done a ‘favourites’ post. I tend not to make monthly favourites, purely because I’m poor, and man can’t afford enough new stuff to write about every month! Also because at this current moment, I’m making two blog posts and two YouTube videos (check out my YouTube channel here!) per month. Which may not seem like much in terms of content, but I’m happy with it.

So, to wrap up the November on this blog I thought it would be fitting to wrap up a few of the things I’ve been loving these past few months as the weather’s gotten colder (yessss), days have gotten shorter (double yessss) and the great C-word approaches (Christmas, I mean Christmas). So here they are!

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Wearing

Mustard Jumper – H&M

Ah yes, this is where I give myself away as the absolute epitome of a female blogger: the mustard knitted jumper. But damn, do I love it. It was super cheap (like £6???) and I’ve gotten so much wear out of it already. I must admit, I was worried I wouldn’t suit the mustard, but I think I get away with it. Definitely #worthit.

Tan Leather Rucksack – Accessorize

This was one of my more extravagant purchases of autumn 2017, which sounds a bit weird considering it’s a rucksack. And it’s not one of those weird super-expensive Swedish ones either. But for me, buying a bag from Accessorize is pushing it a bit. But I figured I need a good quality backpack to last me a few years of uni, and I use this every day. For uni, going to Connor’s house, and even taking to work. I’m mega-fussy when it comes to bags and purses, etc. so this was perfect. Even if it did slightly break the bank at the time.

Using

Fragrance Free Lip Balm – Superdrug

Ah, Winter. Thou art a heartless bitch on the lips and skin. Which is why I needed to find a new solution when my trusty lip balm ran out. And yes, I did actually go for the simplest, cheapest option out there, it was a good choice. A cheeky pack of two means I’m never without a quick fix for dry lips (try saying that five times fast), and they do the job.

Neutrogena Visibly Clear Facial Wash

Speaking of winter and its effects on the skin, boy oh boy does my skin HATE the change in seasons. But this has seriously helped. A combination of a good face wash every day, moisturizer and drinking lots of water helps keep the breakouts mostly under control. Also, this one smells super good.

Reading

The Shadowhunter Chronicles by Cassandra Clare

Okay so… I’ve read QUITE A LOT these past few months. Might have something to do with the fact that I have a BookTube channel all about the books I read. (and I’m almost at 50 subscribers so!!!) but yes, I’ve read a lot. However, as university work has gotten more prevalent in my life, reading has unfortunately gone on the back burner. So at the moment I’m slowly making my way through The Mortal Instruments (yes, I know I’m ten years late).

I started off not loving the world of the shadowhunters too much, mainly due to personal dislike for Cassandra Clare’s writing style, however the series and characters have definitely grown on me and I can see this series staying with me for a long time! If you want to find out about my opinions on this series as I continue reading (I’m currently on the fourth book), then make sure to subscribe to my channel!

Listening To

Harry Styles by Harry Styles

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Okay so I was never ever ever a 1D fan. Nothing against them, I just was slightly too old to love them, and slightly too young to hate them. But out of a need for new music recently (after listening to the same 4 bands for the past like 5 years), I decided to give Harry’s album a go. Even though I didn’t like Sign of the Times when I first heard it, I LOVE this album. I think Harry is by far the most talented out of the group, and his personal style truly shines through in this album. It has hints of classic rock, ballads, and even country at times, and I absolutely love it. Every song makes me want to sit staring out a train window and leave my old life behind in a turn-around montage, you know? It’s that kind of music.

Watching

Stranger Things

Come on. We all know this would be on here. If this isn’t on everyone’s Autumn favourites then they are LYING. I have not met one single person who hasn’t loved this show, and season two that blasted into my life at the end of October was everything I could have hoped for for my Hawkins children and more. I love each and every one of the characters and storylines so much, and this season truly did just expand on the Strange World and the characters I loved the first time around. It’s one of the best pieces of cinematic artwork I’ve ever seen, and I even used it as inspiration for one of my university presentations. That’s how much I love it.

The Vampire Diaries

It may have taken me eight years (this show first aired in 2009. 2009?!?!), but last night I finally finished The Vampire Diaries. And I full-on sobbed for the last five minutes of the last episode (sorry, Connor). I’ve been through many ups and downs with this show, and I can easily say it is not the best show I’ve ever seen. At times, it actually felt like I was physically being thrown into a fantasy writer’s worst nightmare, what with the plot holes and convoluted storylines, but I did feel an attachment to many of the characters, and I’m so glad it ended in the way it did. But if I think about it too much, I’ll never shut up. So let’s move on.

Miscellaneous

YouTube

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I know I’ve spoken about this multiple times in this post alone and I’m SORRY (but I’m also not sorry), but I’ve started a YouTube channel! I’m currently posting one video a fortnight, and trying to get motivated to do more (maybe over Christmas?) but I basically just talk about books! Books I’ve read, my opinions on books, and I even have a series on book recommendations for each of the Hogwarts houses!

I’m loving the whole feel of creating videos for my YouTube channel, and coming up with ideas for the future is just as exciting as seeing people commenting and enjoying them, and I can’t wait to put more effort into my channel into the future, since I’m finally doing something I’ve always wanted to do (make YT videos) while making it about something I’ve always had a passion for!

University Life

And finally, I’ve been loving uni life. While I’ve not been the typical fresher, what with living at home (check out why I decided to this here), and with not being really into the whole alcohol culture that comes with uni, I’ve been loving learning again.

I wasn’t sure I wanted to get a degree for a long time, but after deciding on what I wanted to do in the future, I knew it was a step I had to take to get where I wanted to go, and I’m going to embrace every second of it. Starting uni has given me the opportunity to keep my innocence and act like a teenager for a bit longer, something I won’t be taking for granted. I get to live at home with my family, I get to learn every day, and have spare time to spend on hobbies that I love. I’m loving university life, and I’m so lucky that this is a part of life I’m able to take part in.

So there you have it, a few of my favourite things from this Autumn. Much like everyone else in this world, I can’t believe we’re nearly over with 2017, but honestly I’m so excited for what’s coming up in 2018 as some pretty exciting things are in place already.

If you’ve got a favourites post, link it down below so I can check it out, and if you’ve been loving the same things as me then let me know, I’d love to hear about it, and also let me know if there’s any Christmas-y/Winter-y or other content you’d like to see from this blog!

‘Til next time,

Jess x

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What to Look For at a University Open Day

And we’re back again, with my (probably not at all) eagerly anticipated ‘Applying for University’ series.

At this point, you’ve been back at school for about a month now, and all your teachers are up your arse about getting your UCAS started. And trust me, there will be more posts about that process very soon. I will not leave you just as the hard bit starts, I promise!

My advice for this point in time, would be to create your UCAS logins. That’s it. Go onto the UCAS site, take a look around at all the articles (they’ll be a lot more helpful than mine, I guarantee you), and get your logins sorted. You don’t have to start the application process; you don’t even have to think about it yet. But definitely make use of the resources available to you. Every single piece of information you can get from sources like UCAS (you know, the legit ones) are invaluable, and can help you to the Nth degree. So that’s my first piece of advice.

But the actual purpose of this particular post was to give you some advice about open days. In my last Uni Series post, I told you to start researching potential unis that you might be interested in, using things like league tables and just taking a look at different University’s websites. From these sites you’ve probably seen a lot of adverts for open days.

Please go to open days.

Obviously, it’s not always possible. And if you’re looking to move to the other side of the country, then it might not be the most convenient option to just go gallivanting off (great word) for the week. So, try to go to as many open days as possible. And, as many are held on Saturdays (and a lot of people looking to attend University probably work on weekends) try and work around your own schedule. Some unis offer ‘Guided Tours’, which aren’t open days necessarily, but are times during the week that you can visit and have a look around on your own, whenever you’re free.

Try to go to open days that you feel you really want to get a feel of. Some unis have Virtual Tours on their websites, or live webinars you can watch, as well as YouTube videos about the uni, so if there is really no way to get there, you can still get a sense of the place through these.

It’s really just about your own personal preference, whether you want to go and be surrounded by hundreds of other people in the same boat, or if you’re more nervous in these situations, then trying to find a way to take a look of a school that fits best for you.

However, the only reason I recommend going to Open Days above all else, is that they are simply the best way to see how life works around that particular place. And, when you’re at these open days, here are some of the main factors that you should be looking out for:

  • The atmosphere/location of the Uni. Is it city-based? Or a bit more quiet? Does that suit your lifestyle/personality?
  • What are the students like (and not just the student ambassadors that show you around, because they’re being paid to be there, but try striking up conversation with any random student you see, they’ll give you a real answer).
  • What are the staff like? Do you think you’d get on?
  • Do the facilities available look of a high standard for your chosen course? (Especially if you’re doing a science, media or sports-based degree)
  • Does the course look interesting, and suitable for you?
  • What is the accommodation like? Does the uni offer different types of accommodation, that would suit you more than halls, for example student houses for first years, or single-occupancy studio flats?
  • What is the current level of student satisfaction? (Can also be found online here)
  • Transportation allowances: are you allowed to take your car? Is there a free student bus service? Is everything close together or will you need to find a way around?)
  • Are there nearby places that you could find a part-time job, if you are planning on looking for one?
  • If you have specific dietary/lifestyle/disability/religious requirements, are your needs met by the university if requested?

Alternatively, possibly an even better way to check out a school, would be to stay there for a day or two, with someone who actually goes there. Last year, when I was looking at Universities, I considered going to Brighton. A few weeks earlier, one of my cousins had started at that Uni to study Aeronautical Engineering. I mean, it was absolutely not what I wanted to study, so he couldn’t really help me there, but I got to go to his shared house, meet some of his friends, check out the area, and see what student life is like on a quiet night (because we all know what it’s like on a messy one). Then the next day I went on a guided tour, got to see the facilities, and meet staff and students.

Unfortunately, (obviously), I didn’t end up having the best time at the open day, and Brighton didn’t end up being one of my final choices. However, that experience was unbeatable, and really gave me the best chance to look around, in a way that wasn’t just student ambassadors shoving me around and staff giving me weird smiles to try and get me to attend. I got to see what life there is like through an actual student’s perspective. Which was really cool.

Obviously, this whole thing is bloody scary. It’s absolutely freaking terrifying, and I understand. But taking it one step at a time is the best thing to do at this point. Try not to overthink it, because there’s probably a lot going on at school and stuff at the minute, and I promise it will all be fine!

Let’s cross that bridge when we come to it…

Thanks for reading, and look forward to the next post in this series (hopefully) next week!

Jess

 

The Ever-Looming Present

My past month, while settling back into college life and studying and getting my head round the fact that this is my last year of necessary education – ever, has been filled with one thing. UNIVERSITY.
Ah yes, the word that sends jolts of fear through everyone in education under the age of 18 in most countries across the globe. The dreaded word that means applications, open days, decisions, money, and most importantly, the future.
As this is, indeed, my last year in compulsory education – and I do plan on going to university – the beginning few months of this academic year will be filled with such terrors. (Good thing Halloween is coming up, I’ll just go as a UCAS application…) I have already began my application, put down my choices (though who actually knows if they are the right choices for me. We’ll find out in a few years.) and am currently in the midst of writing my personal statement. By far the worst part of this entrire process. The part that can be make or break. The decider.
For those who do not know, UCAS is the University and Colleges Admission Service, a UK charity that sorts out all your uni stuff, basically. It’s where your applications go, and where you’ll get your offers from, should you get any. And the personal statement is a long-ass piece of writing that all the univeristies you have applied to will look at, and thus decide whether or not you are suitable/good enough/worthy of their education for the next 3 years (on average). And I’ll tell you… it’s bloody terrifying.
And, like the rest of life, it doesn’t slow down at any point. As much as myself and the rest of my peers would love for the world to just calm down, chill for a bit, take a break and have a cuppa, it does not. Because it’s cruel like that. And it just keeps coming at you, like a puppy that wants to play. You know, one of those ones that never gets tired? Yeah.
So if you couldn’t guess, everyone here in the UK (not sure about anywhere else, I don’t live there) under the age of 18 who is looking to get an undergrad degree next year is, in a word, shitting themselves. Excuse my French.
Actually no, at this moment I know a few people that have already recieved offers from their first choice universities. Which is amazing, don’t get me wrong. That’s somethingto be proud of, really. And Lord save the souls of the OxBridge or medical students who have to complete their applications by… well… now. Hats off to them. I, however, am still trying to get my head around how I’m supposed to ask a teacher I’ve never met to write my reference.
I will most likely be doing updates on this sort of process and maybe doing some advice-posts after the process is finished for future applicants. But until then… wish me luck!