A day trip to Oxford

Me and my housemates have been saying we wanted to visit Oxford since first year and so in our final week of third year we finally went. We all said we wish we’d have gone earlier so we know to go back because it was beautiful. It’s definitely a perfect day trip destination and one I hope to return to.

We went without really having a plan, we’d asked a few friends who lived in or had been to Oxford for recommendations and went from there.

Art Cafe – before we really got stuck into any sight seeing we decided to go for lunch and came across a cute cafe. After checking out the extensive menu we decided to give it a go. Their menu had everything you could want for breakfast and lunch and after much deliberation I went with ‘The Sexy Brazilian’ panini and a Chai Latte. They were delicious and the panini really filled me up meaning I didn’t get a chance to try their yummy looking cake. The place itself was pretty with art work all over the walls and a cosy, intimate feeling throughout. I would 100% recommend this place!

Ashmolean Museum – this was something that had been recommended to us so we thought it was something we should check out. It was so lovely, there was a mixture of art, artefacts and textiles to look at. As a history student, I do love a museum and this was definitely one I’d recommend checking out. We spent a good couple of hours in there and you could spend a lot more if you wanted to.

Sight seeing – the whole town was just so pretty. We walked the streets and checked out the stunning university buildings. We all made sure to get a picture outside of the Radcliffe Camera building as I feel it’s a must when you visit Oxford. I think if I went again I’d definitely want to check out some more of the colleges but there’s only so much you can do in a day.

Shopping – who doesn’t love a bit of shopping. There were a few stores we don’t have in Reading so we had to check them out. I ended up buying myself a ring from & Other Stories as a graduation present; I wanted something that I could always keep as a memory. I also recommend the Blackwell’s bookshop, it’s huge and has got such a variety of books. I ended up getting Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid which I can’t wait to start reading and an amazingly spacious tote bag. It’s a very good place to do some browsing and a bit of shopping.

Overall it was such a lovely day out and one I would 100% do again.


That’s a wrap…

Last week I completed my last ever exam of my undergraduate degree. It feels like it’s flown by and it hadn’t quite sunk in that I’ve finished university. It’s bitter-sweet as while I don’t want to be over, I can now enjoy the lockdown easing without having to worry about revision or deadlines.

As for what I plan to do after university, I’m still not 100% sure, for now I want to enjoy the freedom but I’m thinking about finding a job. At the moment I’m hoping to go into publishing so we shall see where that takes me. I have so much planned with friends over the summer and so much to celebrate so I want to make the most of this time before I start working full-time.

I’m very much excited for this last month of being at university. Hopefully as the lockdown eases there will be more freedoms. I have a few things lined up; nights out, picnics, barbecue but I’m also just looking forward to being spontaneous. I’m excited for this next chapter of my life but am going to enjoy the university lifestyle while I still can.

What I’ve been up to

So in my last blog post I spoke about how I’ve rebranded my blog. I have taken a good bit of time off as I’ve been busy with university and other things. Also, I feel with the lockdowns I’ve felt uninspired to write but as the restrictions being to lift, I’m getting a lot more excited for the future. I feel I have the motivation to be creative again.

The big thing is university! I’m so close to graduating now and it all seems a bit surreal. All my assignments are done and I now only have my dissertation and exams to go. All is going well and I’m so close to my dissertation being finished, which is crazy as I’ve been working on it for so long. This year due to COVID all exams are online so that’s a bit strange but its the same as last year and hopefully having the time pressure removed will make them a little less stressful.

I have also been reading more, particularly non-fiction and watching more documentaries which is something I’ve loved. I have really enjoying leaning new things and definitely want to consume more. I will be making more posts about things I’ve learnt from these things and whether I think they’re worth it.

It has been difficult to get involved with things at university but I’ve still been trying. I have been getting involved with the debate society which has been great. It’s given me something to look forward to outside of my studies and allowed me to meet new people and make friends. I would recommend joining new societies even if you feel its a little late in your university career. I’ve also been continuing with the university newspaper which has been a bit different this year but still great fun.

I’m looking forward making the most of the last few months at university before I graduate.

Welcome back

As you may be able to tell my blog as changed since I last posted. I’ve decided to reinvent Student Life and Beyond as Eden Emily Blogs. I feel this creates something more personal and allows me to talk about so much more than being a student.

As you may know from my previous posts, I will be graduating in the summer and will therefore not be a student anymore. Though I want to document the rest of my student experience, I want to be able to use this blog to talk about many other lifestyle elements.

Of course, I will continue talking about student life and how I am navigating it, giving you all my top tips. That’s where this blog began and is something I want to keep at the heart.

I also want to post more book reviews. Before I mainly focused on fiction but I have realised there is a whole world of non-fiction out there. I have really enjoyed learning new things and just gaining a wider perspective on society through reading. I’ve also been watching more documentaries for the same reason. I feel they inspire me and make me want to consume more which I can then share with you.

This brings me on to another thing I’d like to share. I’m on a mission to be more sustainable. A lot of the documentaries I have been viewing have made me change my outlook on life and pushed me to want to be more sustainable. I know I won’t be perfect but I want to share the journey.

I also want to just share other thoughts on life, write posts about what I’m up to, what I’m enjoying and how life is in general. I feel this rebrand will help me step out of the student bubble and into a wider world.

As you may be able to see I have two new tabs on my home page! Lifestyle is everything related to my life that I don’t feel comes under the Uni Life category and New Things is everything I do that is something new to me. I’ve decided as the lockdown restrictions ease, I want to try doing new things, maybe push myself out of my comfort zone and this is the perfect place to document them.

Top tips: online learning

Online lectures and seminars can often feel like they’re not the real thing. Watching someone speak on a screen can mean it’s easy to get distracted and lose concentration. It can be difficult but it’s still important to use these sessions and make the most of them so here are my top tips to try and remain focused.

Find a quite space to study – though it can be difficult to find this space dependent on where you’re living at the moment, it’s important to be away from distractions. Even just putting on some headphones to block out the background noise can be beneficial to engaging in what’s being said.

Distance yourself from distractions – I’d recommend putting your phone away or at least on do not disturb so that you aren’t tempted to scroll through instagram or check your notifications. Plus it’s always a good idea to take some time away from your phone and this is the perfect opportunity to create some distance. Look out for what sort of things you find distracting when learning online to try and work out what the best environment would be for you to work in.

Treat it as you would treat an in person lecture – take notes, ask questions, do the preparation to truly make the most of these lectures and to truly understand the content. I find that engaging and putting my ideas across really helps me to concentrate and take in the information. It also helps to make sure you have a good understanding if you put your thoughts on the topic out there as you can hear how others may agree or disagree with your points. As much as it’s important to make the most of your contact hours, remember it can be difficult to adjust and that you should give yourself credit for getting through it.

Keep on top of your work – it can be so easy to put off doing work when there is less structure surrounding university. However, the best way to not make unnecessary stress is to try not to fall behind. Keeping up with work by doing it regularly may seem difficult when you have a lack of motivation but you will thank yourself in the future when you don’t have work piling up.

Top tips on being a student in a pandemic

Once again we find ourselves in lockdown which means for many of us we won’t be going back to university until at least mid-February. Of course this can make many things a lot harder; living situations, accessing course materials, online learning. To help you get through it I’m going to be doing a series of posts on these different topics to hopefully help you be a bit more productive and a bit less stressed. Of course these are things that work for me, they won’t work for everyone, but if you’re feeling a bit lost you might as well give them a try.

At the moment I am living at home after returning for the Christmas break and attempting to get my work done. I’ve been trying to put little things in place to help myself stay productive but it’s always important to remember that these are very strange times. It’s important to remember that you may not feel as encouraged at the moment, don’t beat yourself up about this because it’s only natural to feel a bit of a strain on your work at the moment.

With working on my dissertation, assignments, seminars and reading there’s a lot to be doing and it can be nice to have something to focus on at the moment. However, the importance of taking a break is a big as ever. Go for a walk, watch a bit of Netflix, call a friend, make sure you’re doing things to relax yourself so that you can feel that bit more fresh and ready to go.

Keeping yourself motivated when doing university online

I’ve found university being online can drain me of motivation as there’s not the same sense of routine. While I do go into university for 2 hours a week the rest of my seminars are online and I tend to do my work at home rather than go to the library. I’ve been trying to put small things in place these last few weeks to get me into the right mindset to do work. People do not lie when they say the workload in third year is a lot so it’s even more important for me to create a good at home study routine.

Leave the house – I know this may not be the best advice during a pandemic but I’ve found it can start to get suffocating if you stay inside all the time. I recently stopped doing at home workouts and actually went back to the gym and it just felt so good. Even if you just go for a short walk, give yourself a break and get out of the enclosed space in which you live and work.

Create to-do lists – I’ve spoken before about my love for my planner but this is so important for me as it helps me set goals. I like to have short to-do lists for each day to motivate myself to get stuff done. There’s nothing like the feeling of having ticked everything off the list at the end of the day.

Create a routine – though you may have less of a fixed schedule from commitments that doesn’t mean you can’t have a routine. I like to get up at the same time each day, have my meals, finish working and do my exercises in line with my routine. Even at the weekends I like to keep to my routine to an extent otherwise I’ll fall out of it. It’s important to listen to your body sometimes I’ll allow myself a lie in if I’m shattered at the end of the week or have an early night.

Switch off in the evenings – don’t work all day, have some time to wind down especially before bed. I like to watch a film or read some of my book before I go to sleep just to relax my mind. I feel of I work until bed it does impact my sleep.

Have meal breaks – in keeping with the last point of shutting off. I like to take breaks for my meals, setting a specific amount of time to take a break, enjoy my food and watch a bit of Netflix before getting back to work.

Reward yourself – it can be so easy to think that work is something you should just be doing. But it’s always nice to have something to look forward to. I often think I want to make sure all my work is done before this event so I don’t have to worry about work when it comes around. This is such a good way to motivate yourself.

Hopefully these things can help you to motivate yourself while working at home.

Dissertation diaries: October

I’ve decided now that I’m back at university to do another update on the dissertation writing process. I feel being back at university there really is a lot of work to be doing but I want to make sure I’m keeping up with this project.

Being back at university I was able to go to the library to get the physical copies of books that weren’t available to me online which really has been a great help and reading through these has given me the ability to fill in some of the gaps.

I met with my dissertation supervisor which I can’t recommend enough. It gave me such a good sense of direction and helped me with things I was starting to get confused about. It really helped me to understand my work better as I had to explain it to someone else and it made me realise the bits it’s didn’t quite understand. If you’re doing a dissertation you should definitely go see your supervisor, even if you feel you know exactly what you are doing they can help you confirm this.

My university requires us to do oral presentations just before the Christmas break to talk through our plan for our dissertation. This is something I’ve been working toward and knowing I need to talk for 10 minutes about my research helps me to make it more comprehensive.

On the actual essay, I got feedback on my introduction which allowed me to refine it and I feel a lot more confident with that. I managed to start the first chapter, working out the gaps and what needs smoothing out. The more I write the more confident I become which is a good feeling. Hopefully, I’ll be able to manage my time around this well while still getting on with my other work and sticking to other deadlines.

My favourite lunches at the moment

It can often feel that at university the days are busy. This can mean that making lunch needs to be quick, that’s why I’ve decided to give you my favourite quick ideas. I love a warm lunch so these aren’t the best for a packed lunch but with most things being online there’s less of a need for those. I may do a packed lunch ideas post some time soon, for some inspiration.

Omelette – I made my first omelette a few weeks ago and I’m already in love with them. It’s such an easy thing to make, all you really need is eggs and you’re good to go. You may also want some salt and pepper and as you get more confident making them you can add some toppings. I used ham and mushrooms the other day and it was just yummy.

Hummus – there are so many flavours of hummus to try, my favourite has to be red pepper but I do always love an original flavour. I serve mine with carrot sticks and toasted pitta bread to dip in. It’s so easy to make you could even prepare the carrots in advance so you can quickly put everything together at lunch time.

Soup – soup has so many flavours so you can really mix this one up. Whether you make it yourself or use a shop bought one that’s up to you. My favourite is definitely tomato soup and I have it with a warm bread roll to fill me up a bit more. I do sometimes use sliced bread instead but there’s nothing like bread from the oven.

Pancakes – occasionally I love to treat myself to some good old pancakes. Whether they’re the American style or crepes I just love them. There’s so many toppings to choose from, at the moment I’m loving Biscoff spread on mine.

And there we had it my top four lunches for when I need something quick and easy. Plus they can all be done on a student budget.

Finding your feet

Most people are back to university and settling back in but this may not be true of everyone. Not everyone will find their feet as soon as they move to university; whether that’s settling in to first year or adjusting to the new year. Just remember these things take time and you don’t need to worry about accomplishing everything in your first day.

It can be important to just take your time to get used to the new surrounding especially as you would have most likely been stuck in one place for six months due to lockdown. Even if you are moving back to the same university you may be living somewhere else or you may be used to living at home making it just a little harder to get settled. My best advice would be to have things with you at university that make it feel more homely or remind you of home. Whether this is pictures, blankets or fairy lights it’s nice to surround yourself with cosy things.

Another issue you might have moving to university is making friends. Especially with the pandemic and limits on socialising it can be difficult to find new people. Even with this you can get to know the people in your flat or join a society to meet people. I know my university is not doing a fresher’s fair this year but all the information on joining societies should be online and easy to find. Not only will this allow you to meet new people but it can teach you a new skill or allow you to continue with something you love.

Just remember you have time to do things. You don’t need to do everything at once at university, just take you time and things will fall into place. Sometimes you just have to be a bit proactive to get what you want and university is the perfect place to get involved or discover something new.