Things that school doesn’t prepare you for

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Hello again,

Just a little disclaimer: this is not an attack on the school system, but a list of things that I feel would be useful for schools to teach. I don’t think that schools should babysit us, it’d just be nice to be taught about life after school and not just about quotes from Shakespeare’s plays and how to use Pythagorus. I’m sure I could have written a list twice this size, but here are some things that school doesn’t prepare you for.

Being self-employed

Luckily my family have already loaded me up with information about expenses and tax and all of the wonderful things that accompany working for yourself. My mum even had to sit with me when I applied to become self-employed online. It’s a bit embarrassing that I got to being 20 years old without knowing the first thing about self-employment. It would have been so useful if schools talked about working for yourself as an option instead of banging on about uni all of the time.

Invoices

I didn’t actually learn what an invoice was until I got my first job in social media and my boss told me to sent him an invoice at the end of the month. Even now my invoices are the most basic things I’ve ever written. If you’re ever thinking about taking on some freelance work or running your own business, I’d definitely give ‘invoices’ a little Google because I’d barely heard of the word before I got to uni.

Jobs of the future

I don’t really know what to call this but when I went to school, only a few years ago, the only careers that were really talked about was teaching and law and nursing and all those other jobs that schools think are the best options. There’s no disrespect in working in those industries, but it would’ve been really nice to talk about jobs that are quite new or just different from the norm I suppose. When I told my teachers I was going to study journalism at uni, the only thing they’d talk about would be newspapers. Anything about blogging or PR or social media was dismissed despite school supposedly ‘preparing you for jobs that don’t even exist now’. Yes, they actually said that…

Politics

I don’t know if this is the same for all schools, but my schools NEVER talked about politics. I always remember teachers being fearful of revealing with political party they support. Although I wouldn’t have wanted to anyone to force their views on me, I would have really appreciated some information about voting and what each party stands for. It worries me that people are leaving school without knowing a lot about their own country’s political system and government.

Social media

In school social media was always talked about as if it was some form of evil. All that was talked about was internet safety and not talking to strangers. Whilst this information is useful and 100% necessary, it would be good to teach people about the uses of social media too. Social media is actually the reason I earn money so I find the thought of it being portrayed in a negative way in schools stings me a bit. Without Twitter a lot of people wouldn’t access news and without Instagram a lot of people wouldn’t know what a Boomerang is. Think about it.

Money

Managing money, earning money, the value of money, rent, tax, mortgages, savings… money in general needs to be talked about openly or people are going to leave school not having a clue. I appreciate that your teacher isn’t your mum but a little guidance wouldn’t hurt.  I’m really good at managing money and consider myself to be self-sufficient but I really wish that school offered me more support in that department – I don’t even have an overdraft…

As always, thank you for reading!

I didn’t have a bad time at school and in some ways I learned things that have actually really helped me. Maybe Theresa May will read this and realise that young people need to be more well informed before they leave school…

Ways you can reach me:

Bye for now,

Courteney x

 

 

15 Things No One Tells You About University

Hello again,

I’ve written university posts before and a lot of people found them quite helpful. This is basically a list of things that no one tells you before you go to university. All I was told is “the work will be a lot harder than A-Levels” and “don’t come home if you don’t get a first”. I’m joking, sort of.

You will be lonely 

Student halls isn’t always the party that it’s perceived to be. Of course there’ll be plenty of times where you’re out drinking hot chocolate with your friends and splashing all of your student loan in the nearest shopping centre. However, there’ll also be times where you’re sat in your room by yourself wanting to pull the bricks from your walls.

Living with girls is just as bad as living with boys 

Let me tell you this, I live on an all girls floor and some of the girls are actual creatures. If we didn’t have cleaners in everyday I’m not sure I’d cope. There’s only so many times I can clean the oven and avoid certain showers before I never want to leave my room again. I promise you I’m not exaggerating. One day I wash into the kitchen and the toaster was toasting thin air. Or maybe they were toasting invisible bread. Who knows?

You’ll end up eating the same meals most days

You work out the meals that are easy and cheap to cook. Then you stick to them.

You will get lost

No matter how many times you’re told what room or block you’re in, it will always happen. Every corridor looks the same.

You won’t have any money 

Unless you’re living off of bank of mum and dad, you’re probably going to need to get a job. Or, you could eat tinned soup for dinner every day. But even that’s expensive.

You don’t need to buy every book on your reading list

You’ll find a lot of them free on Google Books, in your uni library or significantly cheaper as an ebook. If you look at your list and buy everything single one then you’re a fool. And probably a poor fool at that. Save your pennies and don’t buy a book unless it’s absolutely imperative.

The friends you make during freshers might not be your friends by second year, or even October

After a while you’ll find people who share the same interests as you and who you get along with easily. If you don’t find those friends in the first week or even in the first year, it’s not the end of the world and you’ll find them eventually.

You’re going to question if you’re on the right course

I’m sure everyone’s had this thought. There’s going to be some part of your course that you don’t like. Maybe it’s a little part, maybe it’s a big part. Try and remember that there’ll be other parts of your course that you’ll enjoy more because one bad module doesn’t mean that your whole uni experience will be bad. If your course is unbearable, maybe consider other courses?

You’re going to question if you’re in the right uni

Sometimes your lesson will last for half an hour and you’ll think to yourself “why am I paying £9000 a year for this?”

You can wear whatever you want

If you turn up to a lesson looking like you haven’t washed or brushed your hair in 4 days, nobody seem to notice. And when they do notice, they don’t say anything.

Knowing a lecturer for 2 years doesn’t mean they’ll learn how to spell your name, or even remember what your name is

I can no longer be bothered to tell my lecturers if they’re spelling my name wrong and I’ve also been called a few names that are definitely not Courteney before.  It’s all part of the fun. Try and remember that your lecturers speaks to hundreds of students on a weekly basis and might struggle to learn them all. Or maybe they don’t care what your name is.

You need experience to get a job but you need a job to become experienced

This is something that will never make sense to you. Even the unpaid internships want people with experience. I guess it’s one of those things that will never make sense but we just accept anyway. You’ll constantly ask yourself “how am I supposed to gain experience if I can’t get a job?” Don’t worry – everyone else is thinking the same thing.

Toiletries are EXPENSIVE

I literally paid £2.20 for Colgate mouthwash the other day. I’m pretty sure I could feed myself for a day on £2.20. You never really appreciate the cost of shampoo, conditioner, body wash etc etc until you move out.

You’ve never needed student discounts more than you do now 

Whether it’s free delivery on Deliveroo or a cheap cinema ticket, you’re going to need your student discount at some point. If you sign up to UniDays, you can see all of the discounts available to you. Check this before buying ANYTHING. Food, a laptop, a new coat, anything. Chances are, there’ll be a discount code for it.

Buying your own food is actually really fun

…until you have to carry it back from Morrisons by yourself.

As always, thank you for reading.

Hopefully you found this useful! If you don’t, hopefully you’ll feel sorry for me instead…

Ways you can reach me:

Bye for now,

Courteney x

 

My Social Media Internship

Hello again,

Since I went back to university at the beginning of October I’ve been manically applying for internships. I’ve been looking at different areas such as PR, social media, journalism and blogging. I suppose that because I’ve only just started by second year so I’m still quite early in my Journalism degree and want to try different areas of work.

Although it would be lovely to be a full time blogger when I finish uni, I obviously need a back up plan.

At the moment I’d love to blog for a company or manage their social media. I love writing but I also really like the idea of helping a brand grow their audience and reach out to a lot more people. All I know is that my former dream of becoming a newspaper journalist is dying out more and more. I much prefer working online as everything is so instant and you can reach people that you wouldn’t necessarily reach via a newspaper.

Another reason I’m drawn to blogging and social media is because I’m growing up in a generation where technology is evolving in front of us. We don’t know how more advanced our laptops and our phones will be in a year, in five years or in ten years. By the time I graduate the way we use the internet and the way we seek journalism in all of its forms may be completely different.

Anyway, I recently applied for an internship with a start-up called Brain Füd. To cut a long story short, I got the internship!

The mains things that I’ll be doing for them will be managing their social media accounts, growing their following and increasing the engagement that their accounts receive. They’re launching their energy drink this winter so it’s exciting to be a part of something that’s so new. I’m really looking forward to see where the next three months take me and to meet a lot of new people who can pass on their wisdom to this young, budding blogger. I’m really hoping that I learn a lot and gain experience that will help me in the future either with my own blog or with my career.

Up until this week, I was feeling really down that I hadn’t found an internship. It’s so hard to find an internship that will fit around my lectures and will allow me time to finish my uni assignments. Obviously my uni work is my priority so there’s no point in me trying to juggle a full time internship along with my full time university course. Luckily, I can do a lot of my intern work from home and will only regularly be going into the office on a Friday. All I ever do on a Friday is stay in bed until 1pm and binge Netflix so I’m not exactly going to be losing out either.

I don’t know if anyone else in university feels like this, but I feel like my first year absolutely flew by and I’m running out of time to do all of the things I won’t have as much time for when I get a full time job. I’m going to make sure that I blog as much as possible and get as much work experience as time allows me. If I left university without having taken every opportunity that I can then I know I’d feel like I’d massively wasted my time. I’m aware of how competitive graduate jobs are, especially in London, and I want to make myself as employable and experienced as possible while I have the chance.

After getting this internship I’m feeling very positive. I feel like everything is falling into place perfectly.

As always, thanks for reading.

Please let me know if you have any questions about doing a journalism degree or finding an internship as I feel like these subjects aren’t talked about at all in the blogging world…

Ways you can reach me:

Bye for now,

Courteney x

 

 

 

University Survival Tips

Hello again,

Now I’m in my second year of university and I’ve had a full year of uni experience, I thought I’d share some of the things that kept me sane throughout my first year away from home. If you didn’t know, I moved from Cornwall to London to study Journalism at LMU.

Personalise your room

This one is so important. When I moved in to my room the first thing I did was rearrange all the furniture to how I wanted it and changed the horrid red curtains and bed sheets for ones I bought myself. Other things that I used to decorate my room are fairy lights and LOTS of candles. If your room looks dull and boring then you’ll feel dull and boring when you’re in it.

Eat proper homemade food

Anyone that’s been to university will know how easy it is to put on weight or just become really unhealthy. Not only is it better for your diet but it’s also a lot better for your budget to stop eating so many takeaways. I’ve seen so many people run out of money really quickly because they’ve spent all of their money on takeaways and alcohol. It’s so much cheaper to just cook food yourself.

Give yourself down time

…i.e. alcohol free time. Freshers is intense and can take its toll on you. Freshers’ flu is REAL. It’s so important to give yourself time to recover from nights out or long weeks at uni. I cherish the days where I can stay in bed past 7:30am and do nothing. Giving yourself time to recharge is so important. It’s also really nice to turn up to a lecture fully awake and hangover free.

Stay organised

University can feel really overwhelming at times, especially when you’ve got deadlines coming up for all of your modules. I’m a person that likes to stay really organised. One of the ways I do this at home is having a big wall calendar above my desk so I can see how close deadlines are and I can easily remember any important dates. It just makes sure I don’t forget anything important.

Don’t clean up after other people

I used to clean my kitchen regularly even though it wasn’t me leaving food all over the over or blocking up the sink. I thought it was easier to just clean up every time I wanted to cook but eventually learned that it’s better to stop cleaning up after everyone so they realise that they have to clean up after themselves. As soon as I stopped cleaning the oven and counters every morning and night, the girls I live with seemed to make more of effort to do it themselves.

Apply for jobs like they’re going out of fashion

When I moved to university last year, I was sure that I was going to wait until I’d settled in properly to start applying for jobs. Three days into living in London, I was applying for so so many jobs. I hated the thought of not working and not having a source of income. I know a lot of people who really struggled to survive on their student loan within the first few months. If you’re bad at budgeting, I’d consider getting a part time job if I were you. That being said, don’t work so much that you can’t do your uni work because that totally beats the point of going to university in the first place…

Thanks for reading!

Let me know if you have any uni survival tips…

Ways you can reach me:

Bye for now,

Courteney x

7 University Organisation Tips

Hello again,

Seeing as everyone seems to have returned to their studies I thought I’d share some of the things that I do to attempt to be more organised for uni.

I’m sure there’s loads of things that I’ve forgotten but, for now, these are my tips…

Keep handouts in one folder

At home I like to keep handouts that I don’t need to take into uni with me all in one folder. I have dividers in this folder so I can separate the papers for each of my modules and they don’t get mixed up. This just makes it easier to find notes that you mind need in the future and it also means you don’t have to carry loads of loose papers in all of your notebooks.

Keep a diary

If I didn’t write down deadlines for assignments or for homework I would 100% forget everything. In my diary I write down which class I have on each day every single week so I can clearly see which piece of homework is due in for which module. Also, I try to write very specific things in my diary such as writing down a specific chapter I need to read instead of just writing “do reading”. This just saves time looking for the chapter later on and getting confused about which one I need to read.

Have a separate book for each module

I’ve noticed that a lot of students just have one book for all of their modules. This does seem a lot more convenient as you won’t have to remember to keep taking a different book every day. However, I prefer to keep a labelled book for each module so I don’t confuse my notes. Having one book per module means that you don’t have to flick through loads of notes about your other modules when you just want to find your notes for one module. Also, labelling these books will make your life a lot easier.

Plan at the beginning of each week

I have a desk planner where I can write lists for the week as well as a little note about what I need to do on each day. Having this on my desk all the time stops me from forgetting really specific things that I might forget if they were in my diary, such as food I’m going to buy from the shop. It’s also really satisfying to cross things off of a list.


Summarise what you read

Boy is this important. There’s nothing more frustrating that actually doing the prepared reading and forgetting all about what you’ve read when you have to talk about the chapter in the lesson. I always make a few notes to summarise what I’ve read so I’ve got a bit of a chance of actually retaining the information.

Make your notes colourful

I always feel like a child when I sit highlighting or underlining all of my notes but it actually helps me. If I read back through my notes and they weren’t colourful then I probably wouldn’t even read them properly. Every time I write something in a notebook I’ll always at least make the effort to highlight every new header or title. I also like to do this in my diary so deadlines and important details stand out to me.


Make your bed 

Whenever I make my bed as soon as I wake up I’m never tempted to get back in bed. Instead, I sit at my desk and do my work. If I’m on my laptop in bed then there’s a 100% that I’ll be doing anything else other than doing my uni work.

Thanks for reading!

Let me know if you have any other organisation tips…

Ways you can reach me:

Bye for now,

Courteney x

What Living In Student Halls Has Taught Me

Hello again,

I’ve been living in student accommodation since September and thought I would fill you in on all of the wonderful, and not so wonderful, things about living in a huge building with hundreds of other students.

To set the scene, I live on a floor with other girls, although there are floors that are mixed. I share a bathroom and kitchen with the girls that I live with.

OK…

Girls are by no means any tidier or cleaner than boys

It’s a myth! If anything, living with other girls has led me to think that girls are messier and less hygienic than boys. Before living in student halls I would have never believed someone if they said that to me. There’s always hair left in the showers after they’re used, there’s dirty dishes on the kitchen counter from September (we’re now in January – let that sink in), no one cleans the oven after they use it and sometimes the toilet isn’t even flushed. Living with other girls is definitely not as glamorous as I thought it would be. Once, I went into one of our fridges and found a drawer full of fruit and vegetable that were two months out of date. TWO MONTHS.

There’s no point in putting labels on your food

If you leave something in the fridge then you are putting that food at risk of being stolen. Regardless of whether you have your name plastered all over your milk, someone is going to use it. Also, don’t expect everyone to respect the privacy of your fridge shelf or your freezer drawer. Even if you all have a shelf and a drawer each, there is always someone that will want to share your fridge and freezer space. Failing that, they’ll just move your stuff without asking you. A while ago I thought that someone had stolen some of my food. No one had, they’d just moved it to the other fridge. I have no idea why.

Some people have strange living habits

While we’re on the topic of food, it reminded me of the strange things that I’ve found in my fridge. For some reason, there’s always someone that will keep food in the fridge that doesn’t belong there. For example: bananas. You don’t keep bananas in the fridge. You just don’t. Who is teaching people that the fridge is the correct place to store bananas? Also, the bananas I see in the fridge are always left there until they go off. It is only when the bananas turn completely black and disgusting that the owner of the bananas decides to remove them from the fridge. I’ve also see pasta in there. Uncooked pasta has no place in a fridge. Put it in your cupboard.

Living with your friends is so convenient

Need milk? Need bread? Your friend just down the corridor has some to lend you. Need someone to talk to? Your friend just down the corridor will be in their room. Need to go shopping? Your friend just down the corridor will too. You can’t possibly feel lonely or upset when you live with your friends – they just won’t let you.

Not everyone you live with will want to be your friend

OK, so 90% of time the girls I live with will actually talk to me, say ‘hi’, smile – the normal things. However, there are a couple of people who, no matter how hard I try, will not speak to me. There’s one person in particular who I’ll say hello to and smile at, who won’t respond. She’ll just ignore me. Also, sometimes people will do anything to avoid conversation. For example, walking out of the kitchen when someone else walks through the door. Why would you live with a bunch of other students if you’re not even willing to tolerate their company?

Having cleaners is an absolute God-send

This is something that I really appreciate about living in student accommodation. Without the housekeeping team, I guarantee that no student would be willing to scrub toilets, clean the oven or change the bins. I have so much respect and appreciation for them because, without them, the state of the fifth floor would be much much worse than it usually is. Also, it means that we don’t have to buy hand wash or toilet paper – winning!

Students don’t cook meals together

Before I moved into student halls, I imagined me and my housemates going food shopping together, planning meals together, and sitting round the table to eat the meal we just cooked together. Wrong. Although I do sometimes cook in my friend’s kitchen, no one ever wants to cook food with anyone else. Maybe it’s because everyone eats different foods.

Thanks for reading!

After reading back the points I’ve made I realised that I haven’t made living in student halls look very appealing. I actually love living in halls and would recommend living in them. It’s fun, convenient and you get to live with your friends – what more do you want from your accommodation? There are some annoying things about halls, but nothing that is unbearable.
Let me know about your experience in student accommodation too!

Ways you can reach me:

  • Email: courteneynoonan@hotmail.co.uk
  • Twitter: @courteneyjn
  • Instagram: @courteneynoonan

Bye for now,

Courteney x

The Best Things About Coming Home From Uni

Hello again,

Like most other university students I traveled home for Christmas earlier this month, for a well needed break.

Spending time with family

I’ll start with the most important one. Even though I wasn’t crying myself to sleep every night from homesickness, I missed my family more than I can put into words. Living apart from people you’re used to spending every day with is such a weird feeling. I’m definitely glad to be home with them for a few weeks.

The beach

Although I haven’t actually been to the beach since I got home, I have definitely missed the peacefulness of it. It’s worlds apart from the rush of living in London. Don’t get me wrong, I prefer being busy and being around lots of people but it does make you appreciate the calmness of the countryside.

SKY TV

I didn’t bother taking a TV to uni because I knew I wouldn’t have much time to watch it. So, coming home and being able to scroll through the endless movies of Sky TV has made vegging out on the sofa all day soooo much better. The only TV I have in London is the one in our kitchen, which you have to stand up to watch. Would it be too dramatic to say “you never know what you’ve got until it’s gone”? Yeah, it probably would.

Driving

I’ve missed my car so much! I don’t actually mind traveling by tube (or by bus if I’m desperate) but driving your own car makes you feel much more independent and free. No waiting 9 minutes for a bus or standing beneath someone’s sweaty armpit on the tube.

A break from work

I quite my holiday job at McDonalds so I won’t have to work when I’m visiting home. I’m so glad that I did. I have a job in London so it’s not like I’m not earning money at all by leaving. Also, if I came home to work full time I wouldn’t get to spend much time with my family,  which is the only reason I came home in the first place. I’ll end up having about a month off of work which is a nice, long break.

Thank you for reading!

If you’re a university student or you’ve moved away, tell me what you love about visiting home.

Ways you can reach me:

  • Email: courteneynoonan@hotmail.co.uk
  • Twitter: @courteneyjn
  • Instagram: @courteneynoonan

Bye for now,

Courteney x