A letter to my first year self

Hello,

Now I’m one term away from finishing uni, and there are a few things I think you should know, to help you along the way….

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Take every opportunity

Being so close to the end,  I’m more aware now that the real world is close and something I am going to have to join, whether I like it or not. University is such a unique time in your life, something so extra-ordinary and unusual. Cherish it. Take every opportunity you can get. There are so many. Sussex societies are varied and there is something for everyone, pick one and go learn a new skill and make new friends, (you’ll end up living with one of these friends in final year). There’s also plenty more events on campus than you realise, more than just those in East Slope Bar, check out Room 76. Look up Sussex Choice, consider a placement or year abroad. Find out more about the various trips the uni societies organize. Try and get tickets to a Brighton and Hove Albion FC game.

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Explore Brighton and surrounding areas

You think there is just  Brighton town. But make the most of your spare time in first year to explore further afield. Check out Lewes, Hove, Kemptown. All of these places are gems, and not to be missed when you live down here.  Walk out of campus onto the Downs, make the most of the beautiful countryside quite literally being on your doorstep! Do not forget about Stanmer Park and Stanmer House. Cross over the A27 and visit the farm shop, you’ll realise there is a walk that way over the Downs to Kingston Near Lewes. Take it, you’ll come across a great pub called The Juggs for a roast and then you can get the train back from Lewes.

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Don’t stress about work

You’ve earnt your place at Sussex, so enjoy it. Try to attend all your lecturers and seminars, but don’t avoid a night out if you’ve got a 9am the next day, (after all it’s your first year!) Don’t be scared about the tutors, if you’re stuck about an essay, go to their office hour and ask for help, they’re only human! Remember, first year does not count towards your end grade but it’s a chance for you to learn  and develop your skills ready for second year.

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You’ve got so many great moments to come, so enjoy it all. Take photos, cherish the times because it goes quick – trust me!

Oh, and eat fruit and vegetables,

Love,

Joanna

Joanna Clark is a History and Sociology student with a Professional Placement Year

Top tips for student house hunting

So it’s that time of year, as a student, picking your house for next year can be a cause for great stress. But it doesn’t need to be – here are a few handy tips to help you find a great house minus the stress:img_0660

1. Choosing housemates – this is always a cause of concern for many. Just be honest to those that you are talking to, and if sharing a house isn’t your thing, you can apply to be a residential advisor on campus.
2. Sort out a budget – once you have a group, have a chat and work out what you can afford, be considerate, some of your friends might not have as high a budget as you.
3. Don’t forget bills! Bills are normally not included in the house, so make sure you take this into account in your budgeting.
4. Work out what you want – before searching for houses think about what you all want, is it to be close to uni or town? Do you all want double bedrooms? Do you want a lounge for hosting? This makes it easier when searching for properties.
5. House viewings – It’s best if all of you go to the house viewings, if you can’t, then make sure there are at least two of you, and take pictures and videos so the rest of your housemates can see it before you make a decision
6.  Questions! When viewing houses, make sure you go with a list of questions to ask the letting agent. e.g. when was the boiler last serviced?
7. Speak to the current tenants! If they are in when you view the property, have a chat with them. How have they found the house? Have they had any problems? What’s the landlord/ letting agent like?
8. Keep calm. Houses can go quickly, don’t let this stress you out. If your ‘perfect house’ gets snapped up, don’t worry, there are hundreds of options out there and another ‘perfect house’ will come along!
9. Don’t rush into anything! The agents often have a habit of pressurising you, don’t  let them rush you into picking a house, go away and sit in a cafe and discuss with your housemates over a coffee, then give them a call.
10. Get your tenancy agreements checked – just visit the University’s Housing Office or Sussex Student Lettings

There you have it, 10 tips to help you get through the housing process!

Joanna Clark is a History and Sociology student with a Professional Placement Year 

How to have a student Christmas before you head home for the holidays…

Ah December is here! Finally we can legitimately play Christmas songs and not get weird looks. There are lots of fun and cheap ways to make yourselves feel festive at uni before heading home for Christmas. Here are a few suggestions ranging from arts and crafts, present ideas to organising a fake Christmas:

1) Get a tree!

-Now if money is no object you could flash the cash and get a 6 foot real tree, but there are a few other options for you. Sainsbury’s Lewes Road are selling small real Christmas Trees for £10, and split between a few of your mates that’s not much. Alternatively, go into the woods and pick a very large branch that’s fallen to the ground (don’t snap one off – that’s unfair on the tree and not environmentally friendly).christmas-tree Continue reading

It’s freezing out there! 10 things to do INDOORS in Brighton

And it’s begun, the cold weather has set in and it is FREEZING! Let’s be honest, it’s making us all want to crawl under our duvets and stay there till May. I remember thinking in first year that venturing into Brighton was only properly worth it in summer – those days at the beach with ice creams are pretty dreamy – but now in my final year I’ve found there are lots of things to do in autumn and winter all indoors in Brighton City Centre. Here is my top 10 (in no particular order)….

  1. The Painting Pottery Café

In the North Laines, you can while away a rainy cold afternoon and get your creative juices flowing. http://www.paintingpotterycafe.co.ukpainting-pottery-cafe-image Continue reading

Scrap that Year Abroad Plan and Go Join the Scary World of Work!

Working: yuck. Scary and not for you right now, am I right? Let’s just leave that till you graduate, you can deal with that then.

Except in reality, it will creep up on you. These three years will pass in a flash and soon you will be in that hat and gown thinking ‘eek, now what?’

So why not help yourself out? At Sussex, ANYONE can do a work placement. That’s what I did. I study History and Sociology and decided to do a placement year. I worked in the Sainsbury’s Press Office and it was the best decision I’ve ever made. Now, I’m going to tell you why.image-1 Continue reading