Friday, 18 December 2015

Yet Another Catch-Up

Whilst second year has been incredible so far, the amount of work I've had to do has at least doubled compared to last year. It has been incredibly stressful but it's paying off as I'm getting really good grades (1sts and 2:1s) compared to last year!

Me and the boyfriend broke up a month ago (though it was essentially over a month before that...not a good break up at all) which was honestly quite a good thing for me. I stopped feeling guilty for not putting someone that wasn't myself first and I've realised that I am actually a lot happier now. I've been able to concentrate on what is important to me - first and foremost my education and the fact that I began to feel pressured and guilty about not seeing him due to my work load increasing and the fact that he didn't understand this despite being a masters student definitely didn't help the situation. 

This term has been so packed that I've had no time for blogging or reading for pleasure which is disappointing! Hopefully over the Christmas break I'll get chance to do more of what I love in between the assessments. 

I hope I do end up actually writing some more this holiday - I shall have to think of some posts! I've been lacking some inspiration recently as well which hasn't helped the lack of blogging recent.

Jess.

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

University Take Two.

I've now been back at University a week and a half and so far I'm completely loving it! The first week was freshers where all of the first years get settled in, get to know the Uni and their courses and get horribly drunk every night! It was nice being able to spend the week catching up with friends, making multiple trips to the pub/bar and doing some work to prepare for lectures!

This week marked the beginning of lectures and so far I'm loving every module I've picked! You get a lot more choice in second year and I'm really excited to see what the rest of my modules will be like. I've had three lectures so far (Artefacts, Greek Comedy and Peoples and Societies of the Ancient Near East) and I'm set to still have a few this week, introducing me to the rest of my modules (Greek History: Archaic to Alexander, Prospects for Ancient Historians and Egypt and the Greco-Roman World) which will be great! Most of the modules I picked this year with an ancient history side are Greek focused which is easily my favourite period and I'm glad I've been able to specialise that side of my degree that far already as I feel it will give me a good start for doing well this year!

For my Artefacts module, I had to choose 2 of 6 options to focus on. I've picked Pottery and Archaeological drawing with Small finds and coins as back up so I'm incredibly excited to start, no matter which combination of those three I get, as they all look amazing! I think it's awesome how we get to try completely new things like technical drawing as it'll be useful in the long run if I decide to go into Archaeology as a career (most likely!). 

My lectures are a lot more fun this year already because I know so many more people thanks to the dig this summer - I now know the names of most of the people in my lectures compared to maybe 5-10 last year which is really nice! I feel like I've also got a pretty solid friend group now so I'm already feeling like this year is going to be amazing!

This year I've become a student mentor for 12 first year students. The aim is to help them feel more settled and to be able to ask questions to someone has gone through what they're going through. I'm really enjoying being able to help the people who have emailed me with questions and who I've met up with for a chat! It's a really rewarding feeling as I know that a lot of people struggle to settle properly at Uni for a while.

I've moved into private halls this year and so far it's been pretty good - there have been a few problems with doors and radiators but nothing that's too problematic! My room is really lovely with more than enough space and the kitchen is gorgeous with a breakfast bar! It's about half an hour's walk from campus but it will really help me become fitter having to actually travel instead of just rolling out of bed like last year! 

I don't know how much I'm going to be able to post as I have a lot of work to do this year compared to last year...I'll post if and when I can! 

Jess xx

Monday, 14 September 2015

New Beginnings.

I start my second year of Uni on the 29th September, but a lot of people are beginning a new chapter of their lives and starting their first year of University! I'm in no way an expert but I thought it would be useful for some people to share some pointers and advice for the next year of Freshers!

1. You don't have to go out all the time
Before I got to Uni, I had never been clubbing or had many drinks, unlike most of the people I met! It got really tiring trying to go out every day for two weeks straight so I decided to go out a few days a week during freshers and nobody minded! It slows down a lot as you get into the year and start having more work so don't worry about keeping up with the insane pace of the first part of the year. However, although there is a lot of clubbing, there are also plenty of societies and activities for non-drinkers - at my Uni there is a society for non drinkers and movie nights are organised by others!

2. It's okay if you don't make friends with everyone
I tried to be friendly to everybody I met last year in an attempt to make new friends but the reality is that you won't get along with everyone and that's perfectly okay. There are so many people at university that you'll rarely have to see them anyway, even if you live in the same building!

3. Be open minded
University is a huge clash of cultures and backgrounds so it's a great time to learn and try new things, but to also be open minded and do things in a different way to you're used to. It's a great time to reinvent yourself or just shape who you are already. You could join a society that is different to what you would usually go for or choose a module you think sounds interesting but challenging. 

4. If you need to, ask for help
There are plenty of people at University to give you support and advice so if you need them, don't be afraid to ask for help or advice, it's what they do best and they'll do it sensitively and confidentially.

5. Make sure you meet your tutor
They're there to help you throughout the three years you're at University so start off with a good relationship and meet with them soon after you arrive - they're there to help you with academic and personal matters so being able to feel like you can trust them is important!

6. Everyone takes their own time to settle
Don't worry if you get homesick when others seem perfectly fine, people adapt to new situations at their own pace. New situations can be scary but eventually it'll become the new normal and I'm sure you'll love it!

I hope those of you moving back to Uni soon (be it your first or third year) enjoy it and make the most of it!

Jess xx

Friday, 28 August 2015

Portugal travels!

Last week I went straight from work to Gatwick airport and hopped on plane to Faro in Portugal! 
The boyfriend has a house out near Burgau and I was invited to stay with him and his family! As I've already taken a lot of time out with my Athens trip and my dig at Pewsey, I only went out from Saturday to Tuesday. 
Despite it only being a short trip, I got to explore quite a few different places which was great as I've never been to Portugal before! We ended up going to Sagres, Burgau, Lagos and quite a few beaches between!
I got to see a Medieval fort, a Roman fort, small villages and towns which gave me a great whistle stop tour of the country and I'm very grateful for being invited to go out there!
I love travelling so being able to tick off another place that I've seen is great!




There were a few people parachute gliding off the top of the cliffs!
I would love to try it one day!

A strange fog that covered both ends of the beach on the West Coast!
The slate cliffs were incredible!
The view from the Roman fort near Joe's house.
Sunset on the beach near Joe's.
The flora in Portugal is incredible - fennel, olives, almonds and figs
 were growing in abundance all along the roads!
The beach 10 minutes walk from Joe's house! 
The water had some strange greenish foam in it...
It's really satisfying to watch the sea come in and make half of your legs disappear! 
I didn't get a lot of photos of the food but everything there was so nice and I wish I got to try more! 

Apparently  I can't go anywhere without having some form of pastry!
The best chocolate croissant that I've had.
Seriously yummy chorizo, ham and bacon pizza and my favourite cider I only had in Athens!
I was rather excited when I found it again in the shops!
I'll end with a couple photos of me and Joe! 




Sorry about the photo spam, I can't really do the place justice with words, it was amazing and gorgeous! 
It was such an amazing trip and I will aim to go there again to explore further! 
Jess xx

Friday, 14 August 2015

A Year of University.

A year ago today I received my A level results, also meaning that University has been a part of my life for an entire year. It's absolutely flown by, it feels like I've been at uni for years though! 
I thought it would be a good time to do a massive look back at all of the major parts of this year. I stopped blogging in January after hitting a major creative block and therefore you guys have missed out on hearing about the last 6 and a half months of my uni experience (basically 2/3 of the academic year...) 

Got a room for second year, February. 
I was originally going to go into a flat with my old roommate Lucy but I wasn't given a place so I decided to go into a private halls and try out a completely new group of people! I'm quite glad that I'm going into halls again as I don't need to worry about paying bills due to it being an all inclusive contract! I just hope that my flatmates are nice and I get on with them better this year (it ended up that I was only truly friends with Lucy, the others were bearable to live with but I wouldn't have out of choice again). Me and some of my course mates have already decided to live together in third year so I'm excited to see what that will be like! 

Went to Athens, March. 
This trip was incredible. Athens was always on my list of places to go so I jumped at the opportunity to go with the Archaeology society in the Easter holiday! I became closer with people in my year and the years above as well as making some new friends which is always a good thing! I got to see so many of the famous sites such as the Parthenon, Hephestaion, the Agora and some of the many museums dotted around the city. As I studied the Greeks in A level and 5th Century Athens this year, being able to see these places and things in person was almost surreal. The statues in the museums were far more beautiful in person than on paper and I throughly recommend a visit if you can afford it! If not, the British Museum houses some good examples of Greek sculpture which begins to scratch the surface of their beauty. 
A picture post of this trip will be posted soon as it's such a gorgeous place!

Passed first year, June. 
I ended up with 2 modules in the 50s and 4 in the 60s, giving me an overall mark of a 2:1 which I'm incredibly pleased with. I could have tried harder this year but as its a year for learning and understanding how university works, I'm happy I got to see what learning methods work for me, the best ways I write essays and how I revise the most efficiently. I've been given a reading list this year for some of my Autumn term modules so I'm trying to do as much of that as possible whilst writing notes down that I can look back on whilst I'm working during the year. 
Last September I was unsure whether I was good enough for uni and if I really deserved to be there so it's refreshing to know that the work I put in has proved that I am capable! It's a relief to know that I do suit University and academic life!

Boyfriend, June. 
You guys have seen how useless I am at keeping relationships and the one I was in when I was last writing fizzled out sometime around February. Before we were official, my current guy and I dated for a month and a half or so before to get to know each other and get comfortable around each other. It seemed to have worked well as we've been together about a month and a half (roughly since May overall!) and I'm joining his family out in Portugal for a few days of relaxation between work shifts at the end of the month which is exciting! This is going really well and I'm really happy with him so fingers crossed it stays this way!

Dug for 3 weeks in the Vale of Pewsey, June/July. 
The dig is a second year module but is also open to the public to volunteer and join. For the last 4 years I volunteered at the old Reading University field school which closed in 2014. This year was a new dig which obviously brought excitement and nerves as it was unfamiliar to me. Luckily it was equally as fun as the previous year's and I've gained several close friendships with people in my year from it which I'm grateful for. I love my friends in other years but expanding my friends in my own year is always good as I'm with them for the next two years! A Neolithic human burial was also found in one of the trenches which was incredible to see and just highlights the reason I love my degree - the thrill of not knowing what will be found is the best feeling when it comes to digging! The BBC also covered it and you can read more about it here.

This academic year has been challenging and at some points difficult, but I've really enjoyed myself and it's obviously paid off! I'm excited to see what next year brings for me and I hope it goes as well as this year!
Also, congratulations to everyone who received their results yesterday! I hope you all got what you wanted and are successful in doing what you want come September! 

Jess xx

Monday, 19 January 2015

First week back!

The first week back was a mix of introductory lectures for my new modules this term and getting grades back from last term's modules!
I ended up getting a 1st in 5th Century Athens and a 2:1 in Ancient Song which I was really happy about because the lecturer was terrible for it so getting a 2:1 basically off my own back makes me feel incredibly proud. I also got a 2:1 in Practicing Archaeology but I was given that grade last term. I'm happy with those as my first grades of university!
I look back at my posts from last term and I already feel like this term will be better as I've proved to myself that I can do university and I can do it well! A levels obviously just didn't suit me and University does luckily! I just hope the exams go the same way! 
I feel so much more optimistic and I'm going to push myself to do more of the reading as I slacked a lot last term - I only really did the work necessary to pass and didn't do a lot of background reading which will give me a better understanding of the topics. I think it also helped that I'd done the Athens module at A level so I knew the information I needed to get the grades - this term I don't have that help so I'm going to need to work a lot harder to get the same level of grades! I just hope I do it as they're all really interesting subjects!
I'm having to balance University, work and various medical appointments whilst not becoming a complete recluse so it could be difficult to do as much as I want over the next few weeks but hopefully after that, I'll be able to really crack on with working!
I also applied again for halls next year so I'm going to actually have somewhere to live which is exciting! I'm going to be sharing with one of my flatmates from this year which is nice as we get on really well.
Jess xx

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

A Good Monday

Monday marked the first day back at University for me which meant the first day of doing something that didn't involve tv and pjs in a month. 
Most people seem to hate mondays because it's the start of the week and it means getting back to work but mine was surprisingly good this week! 
I thought it would be good to actually say why incase any of you think you can incorporate any of these points into your lives too and make your days better!

1. I gave myself time to get ready.
I usually find myself rushing in the mornings but I found that I had loads of time by waking up half an hour earlier than I usually would and just taking my time over everything. It made a great change and I started the day off happy and not already tired from having to walk fast to my lecture!

2. I only had one lecture.
This obviously helped, but it was also really interesting (beginning of my Augustan Rome module - yay!) so it was exciting to relearn A level content and new material as well! The lecture was held in a theatre room as well so there weren't any desks to lean on which made it feel quite informal which helped with the relaxed feel from the morning!

3. I got extra work done.
I decided to write up my notes from last semester's modules on my laptop so I have them saved somewhere else and it's helpful going over the work I did again with the handouts. I managed to get through about 4 lectures which was great!

4. I took a break when I got too tired
Instead of pushing myself to exhaustion, I had a nap or watched a bit of a film when I got too tired or distracted, meaning that when I worked, I was paying my full attention and the work got done faster and went in better than it would if I was falling asleep.

5. I snacked healthily
I'm usually the one who goes for the sweets and chocolate but as I'm actually trying to stick to my goals this year, I decided to have a healthier lunch and snacks. I ended up having a small handful of pistachios, garden peas and an apple, then some grapes later on when I got peckish again. I actually didn't feel as sluggish and my blood sugar was better controlled so it's good all round! 

6. I dressed comfily
I find it easier to work if I'm comfortable with my outfit - it was comfy but not lazy which is perfect! It was also warm which is good seeing as it's still freezing and wet at the moment! If I'm dressed up like I sometimes decide to, I find it harder to work well as I'm not as comfortable physically so I don't sit around a lot. 

7. I had good conversations with people
I have a tendency to just sit in my room and work constantly but I made sure I went into the kitchen and spoke to whoever was in there and it made me feel better in general!

8. I didn't work right up until I went to bed
Usually I go to bed straight after turning the laptop off which means my brain is still fired up when I'm trying to sleep - I found it helpful to read a bit before as it made me feel a bit more tired.

I hope I can continue some of these every day as it really made a big improvement to my usual routine! What do you guys do to make your days better?
Jess xx