Scott – Five things that’ll make preparing to move to uni easier

#chooseDerby, #DerbyStudent, Digital Ambassador Derby, LHSS

Quite naturally, coming to university is a big step for anyone; no matter how prepared you are or even think you are.

It’s a massive jump into an independent life away from everything you’ve known for your whole life up until this point.

Scary, right?

Fear not though! I have prepared for some nuggets of information to help you out as you prepare to fly the nest and embark on your university adventure!

1. Make the most of your summer with your friends

The likelihood is that, like you, a lot of your friends will be going away to university as well. You’ll end up with your peers scattered up and down the country: I’ve got friends in Wolverhampton, Liverpool and Leicester to name but a few places!download

So you’re obviously not going to see them anywhere near as much as you do while you’re all in one place. It’s a great opportunity to do some memorable stuff with your last summer together, so make sure you do and give each other a great send off. It makes it all the more special when you go to visit them wherever they are then!

2. At the same time, try and save some money

Making the most of your time usually constitutes one thing: spending money. It doesn’t have to, though, but there will be certain things that you decide you want to do – like going on holiday, days and nights out for example – that will put a dent in your funds. I’m not telling you not to do these things at all, because that would completely go against what I have said previously, but it’s a great idea to try and save some money up before you move out of home.

When you get to uni, you’ll be doing much of the same things with your new flat mates and course mates, so try and pull a few extra shifts at work or do some seasonal work painting fences or mowing lawns to ensure that you have enough to do all of these things before you get your first student loan payment.

3. Ensure that you’ve got all of the things you’re going to need to survive

This point is probably the most important one. There is nothing worse than getting to university and realising that you don’t have something that you really need, like a saucepan, or a clothes horse, or a duvet..

30vktutIt’s useful to check with your halls of residence what they provide in the kitchen and bedrooms so you don’t buy something that’s already going to be there for you. Another good tip is to let your parents help you draw up a list of all of the things you’re going to need to buy because they’re wiser in terms of ‘the real world’ than you are, as much as it pains you to admit it. They will think of things that you would never have given a second’s thought to.

4. Don’t leave everything until the last minute!

It’s something you’ll hear time and time again throughout your life in various different circumstances, but it’s always a sound piece of advice. I left my packing until five minutes before I came back from home this Easter, and I left my iPod, sunglasses and Easter eggs at my dad’s house. When you pack up your stuff to move to university, you’re going to have a damn sight more than I had over Easter!

It makes it so much easier to pack things up as you go along, even if it means storing them in the attic or cluttering up your room with stuff like I did. Leaving it until it’s too late is a bad idea, because you probably won’t just be able to nip home and get whatever it is you’ve forgotten once you’re settled.

5. Try and introduce yourself to the people you’re going to be spending a lot of time with at uni

There are a lot of groups on social media for halls of residence and course specific ones, too. It’s a good idea to get yourself on these and meet some of the people who you are going to be studying and living with, as it can remove any awkwardness that may occur.

I remember chatting to a couple of my flat and course mates for weeks before I moved to Derby, and it was a massive help. It felt like I already knew at least a few people here and it was comforting to know that I wasn’t going to be totally alone! There’s obviously a lot of fun to be had making new friends once you arrive, but it’s also nice to give yourself a bit of a head-start.


What’s it like studying with two kids???? – Kiran

#chooseDerby, #DerbyStudent, English, Kiran

The first thought that came into my head when I initially decided to resign from my job to come to university was: how will I manage with the kids? Two boys (4 and 6 years old) and an English Literature degree don’t quite go hand in hand. Well, it’s not exactly easy reading Homer’s Odyssey whilst the kids are acting out ninja turtle fight scenes.

There are so many vital issues to consider when you are a parent and considering university, for example, financial issues, how will you manage the workload, will you still be able to give them enough attention, what about the school run, is this really the best thing for you and your family? The easiest way, I find, is to tackle all these issues as if your degree is a job because you would have the same issues if you were working.  Although, doing a degree is much more than doing a job.  With a job, at least you can come home and to some extent forget about it, there is no forgetting about your degree.

But there is one secret formula, and I swear by it (!), which will ensure you stay on top of your degree and manage a wonderfully smooth running family life too (okay ‘ wonderfully smooth’ is a bit extreme),  and that is staying super organised. You feel and perform so much better when you feel like you have everything in hand. Lists are a good way of staying organised, even a weekly dinner menu helps.  And invest in a good quality diary or use your phone to set reminders, things like setting yourself deadlines  to do your assignments well before they are actually due  means that if anything comes up the week before you have to submit your assignments , at least you have got yourself a head start because it’s bound to happen, somebody comes down with chicken pox  when your assignments are due, staying organised and getting work done ahead of schedule means you can worry that little bit less than if you had to start from scratch.

I have also found that a good routine helps with staying focussed and then everything (and everyone) gets adequate time. For example, your kids know when you spend time with them and you know when you will be doing your university work. If you can, it is also a really good idea to try to build a support network around yourself. Your partner, family and friends can all help with the kids. Even at university, there is The Student Parent Group, who run events and offer support for students and their children.  Using the support and help available means you won’t feel like you are on your own.

The most important thing to remember, though, is that kids are haphazard things (as are most things in life – it’s just that they can speak (or cry on demand) and have feelings which makes them more awkward than most things) so the routine may sometimes have to be given a miss and you might have a day when you don’t get anything done – but one day won’t make a difference. In fact, sometimes you need a well- deserved break and at times (especially when you have presentations or assignments are due) you will be at the other end of the scale, so,  it may well be that you can only give your family very little attention but it won’t be forever so don’t beat yourself up about it.

And finally, use your family life as inspiration and motivation. The university’s motto is ‘Experience is the best teacher’ and there is no experience more embarrassing, intimate and challenging than family!

Scott – Dissertation Survival Guide

#chooseDerby, #DerbyStudent, Digital Ambassador Derby, LHSS

You start out with an idea, a concept, something that you look at and think: “Yes. I can do a damn good job with that.”

Then it comes to three weeks before deadline and this dissertation that was a challenge you were looking forward to at the beginning of the year is now the bane of your life and you just can’t wait for it to be out of your way!

Dissertations have the capability to cause serious mental breakdowns, send stress levels soaring through the roof, and leave you sitting in your room hashing out hour upon hour of work without the time to even think about seeing if the world is still spinning on its axis outside your four walls.

I’ve prepared a little survival plan for you in order to help you save your sanity when the time comes for you to start writing your dissertation. It might even come at the right time for you if, like me, and in the final stages of putting your dissertation together. Reading this could save you from ripping your own hair out.

Slow and steady wins the race.

This may make those of you who are on the home straight scream at me, because you know this all too well. If you’ve left it TortoiseAndHareall until the last minute to write your dissertation, then you’re definitely going to scream at your computer screens, because I can guarantee you’ve had numerous people telling you that you should’ve done this all along.

The best way to write something like this is in bite-sized chunks – not mammoth mouthfuls and all-nighters that leave you with a bad after taste of Red Bull on your palette.

There are rare examples of people writing their entire dissertation in one go right at the last minute, like this guy who turned yellow after an energy drink fuelled 40 hour session of dissertation writing, but don’t leave it to chance. Plus, who wants to look like an extra from The Simpsons anyway?

Bombard your tutors like never before.

They’re there to help you, so don’t deny yourself of that privilege! They are the ones who are the experts in your chosen field of study, so if you’re unsure of something, ask them and not Wikipedia.

Arrange tutorials, send emails, drafts, thoughts, concerns for your mental stability all to them because it then also really looks like you are trying and that you care about the work you’re doing. This is only going to have a positive impact on your grade.

Think you’ve done enough reading? Then you need to do more.

Dissertations are the culmination of what you’ve learned at university and are your academic gift to the world, so it has to be well referenced and backed up by people who have presented similar gift-wrapped presents to the area of your study.

This means a lot of reading. If you think you’ve done a good amount, you’ve only made a start. You can never have too many references, even if you don’t use them all (which is highly likely) at least you’ve got them if you need them. There’s nothing worse than trying to write a certain point and realising you need to pay another visit to the library before you can make a start on it.

Focus on your work, not the idiot who has finished their first draft weeks early.

Your worst enemies could well turn out to be your course mates during times in the dissertation process. Why? Because there’s always someone who will be streets ahead of where you are, and that causes a whole range of negative, hateful emotions within you.

It also makes you freak out and doubt yourself massively. But do not fear, you will be fine. Focus on your own work, set your own deadlines, and set your own pace. Just make sure that doesn’t mean you finish your work well after the deadline. That wouldn’t be ideal.

Put your life on hold for a while.

This bit sucks. You will definitely have to turn down various opportunities to do fun stuff like going out for lunch, taking a wander into town, or anything else you might usually do to kill a bit of time. You quickly have to learn that any time you have must be dedicated to your dissertation.

Every minute spent doing something other than typing away on your computer is filled with guilt and anxiety and thoughts of: “I should probably be doing my dissertation.” It’s probably wise to make sure you get some done if this is the case.

It may sound like the most awful thing you’ll ever have to do, and at the time that’s how it feels. But it’s only for a while, and when it’s over, you can celebrate like never before. Handing it in as the finished article will be the best feeling in the world, so let that drive you on top success and away from despair!graduation-cap-in-air

Let’s get involved! Marsha – Criminology

#chooseDerby, #DerbyStudent, LHSS, Marsha C

At the University of Derby, we provide opportunities for local schools and colleges to become involved in what the university has to offer. As Ambassadors, we also visit schools and colleges outside of Derby, in order to broaden the student’s horizons outside of their local area. We ensure that the activities designed are age appropriate, ranging from interactive games, workshops and practical delivery.

On behalf of the School of Law, we are keen to get young individuals involved in what we do at the university, providing them with taster sessions, and activities in relation to law, enabling them to walk in the shoes of as student lawyer for a day or sometimes for a week.

One of the local schools we work very closely with is Landau Forte College. The students have the opportunity of spending a week with the School of Law and Criminology.

The sessions are usually led by lecturers; however, current University of Derby students can also be involved in the delivery. Having current students from the university assisting during the process, school students have the opportunity to ask questions and voice any queries they may have to both lecturers and students.

This process allows students to take part in debates relating to current issues, the opportunity of advocating, representing a fictional client in court. During this time, the students will also be provided with the relevant skills such as how to address the court, and how to present a case in court. During the experience the students will also be provided with the skill of negotiation, in view of obtaining the best possible outcome for their client, again this is based on a fictional scenario. Prior to all activities, the students will be provided with the basic skills and knowledge, in order to be able to deal with such a situation.

Some of the other activities the students can get involved in range from, Plea mitigation application and sentencing presentation, bail applications both with the use of a fictional character/s and also having the chance to visit the Crime Scene house which has recently been designed for criminology students, in order to obtain evidence from a fictional crime scene. This provides students with an understanding of how to manage and investigate a crime scene using safe and ethical practices.

University’s benefit

Community involvement is key!  Planting a seed in the heads of these youngsters is what the university aims to do. The intention is to recruit prospective students.  With the provision of the taster sessions, tours, an introduction to the study facilities and the opportunity to talk to current students, enables potential students to establish whether this is something they want to be a part of.

Taster sessions are available in certain faculties within the university, why not get involved!

For further information on the taster session, please view the following links.



Scott – 5 tips when approaching deadline day

#chooseDerby, #DerbyStudent, Digital Ambassador Derby, LHSS

It’s getting to that point in the year again when there’s lots of stress and not a lot of time. Yep, it’s that period where everyone has their final deadlines looming large.

Naturally, everyone is going to be worrying at least a little bit. Some people are innately more relaxed than others, and some are far more prepared than others.

No matter what kind of person you are or how you’ve prepared yourself, there are some things you can do to help ease you through your work and make everything run a little more smoothly for you.

So, being the kind natured guy that I am, I’m now going to share with you lucky lot some of the things that I do that help me keep my head when my hand-in dates are approaching.


1. Manage your time effectively.

The likelihood is that you’re going to be juggling a lot of different pieces of work for a lot of different modules when deadlines approach, and it’s easier than you might think to forget a piece of work.

I don’t mean completely forget that it exists of course, but it’s so easy to get wrapped up in one piece of work that you don’t leave yourself adequate time to do a good job on some of the other assignments you have.

This can be a real nightmare, and really put you at a disadvantage when it comes to getting the best grade you can.

I find that spending a few hours a day doing different pieces of work can help, because then, by the end of the week, you’ve made a considerable dent in your total workload. Or even spend a day of the week working on different things if you find it too difficult to switch focus during the day.

2. Give yourself plenty of breaks

It’s an age old trick, but it really works!

I usually try and do an hour to an hour-and-a-half of work before taking 15 or 20 minutes to chill. This usually involves me and my flat mate giving each other an update of how we’re getting on in the kitchen while we make a green tea or get a bit of food.

Something like this just helps your brain refresh a little and you can go back to your work revitalised and ready to knock it out of the park!

Don’t start playing on the XBOX or watching TV during your break though, it’s far too easy to sit for a lot longer than you’d planned if you do that.

You’ll never get back into the groove if you do that.

3. Make the coursework your number one priority

One of the struggles of having so much coursework to do is that you actually have to live as well.

There will be days when you have things to do that aren’t essays and presentations.

But it’s important that you still make sure your uni work is top of your agenda. Get up, get ready, do your work.

Going to the gym or doing your washing or getting some food for tomorrow can wait until the evening. If you start doing these things first, then you risk not having any time left afterwards to hit your work targets for the day.

4. Make yourself daily and weekly targets

Speaking of targets, it’s vitally important that you make yourself some!

Whether you write them all down on a piece of paper and cross them off as you complete them, or you just work towards them in your head, just make sure you know what you’re working towards.

I like to try to be slightly overly optimistic when I set myself daily targets, so then if I don’t tick everything off my list, it makes me more determined to get through everything the following day.

5. All-nighters: avoid at all costs!

They seem to be pretty common stories coming out of every uni, so you’d presume that you’re going to have to pull one at some point, right?

Not at all. In fact, I’d strongly advise that you didn’t let it get to that stage at all.

I’ve never done one myself and I don’t plan on doing one in this final month of my uni career either. I’ve done late nights, that much is true, and even then when it hits 11 o’clock, I can feel my concentration waning and the quality of my work going sharply downhill.

Even after battling through until the early hours, I felt exhausted and woke up slightly later than I wanted to the next day feeling groggy to say the least.

Things like this only have a knock-on effect to the next day or two and although you might blitz your work in your 24 hour session, you’ll lose out in the long run by being too drained to do anything in the following days.


Scott – Enjoy it while it lasts

#chooseDerby, #DerbyStudent, Digital Ambassador Derby, LHSS

When you first come to uni, the day that you hand in your final piece of coursework or sit your last exam may seem a million miles away.

In reality, it is. Three years is a long time and a lot will happen, you will learn and develop in many ways and you’ll hopefully love every minute of it as I have.

However, this time you have seems to flash past you before you even realise what’s going on.

This might seem like quite a depressing thought, but it really doesn’t have to be!

It should spur you on to make sure you get as much out of uni as you can.

I’m sure you’ve heard the old Latin expression ‘Carpe Diem’ before.

Well, in case you haven’t, it means seize the day. Or, in other words, make the most of it.

The overwhelming majority of people who have been or at currently at uni will tell you that it’s the best decision they ever made. That’s certainly how I view it anyway.

I’ve immersed myself in the lifestyle and taken a lot of opportunities that have come my way, and they have helped to shape my experience here in Derby.

Uni is a great time to make a lot of new friends and live your own life and get the most out of your time.

There’s so much that you can get involved in, such as the student radio station, an array of different sports teams, volunteering opportunities and much more.

It’s all there for you to take your pick from, and I even have some regret at not doing something more, specifically trying out for one of the football teams.

I’m not actually part of any societies or clubs, but I have taken a keen interest in sports nutrition and exercise since I arrived here, and that’s helped me to keep entertained and healthy at the same time.
I’ve also taken chances presented to me through my course, such as this job for one!

I have a friend who I’m not sure has made the most of their experience so far, but luckily for them they have more time left at uni than I do, so they hopefully will.

Having more experience than them, I feel like I should grab them, shake them and tell them to get out there and experience everything this period of your life has to offer rather than sitting inside the four walls of the flat most of the time.

This may suit some people down to the ground, which is fine!

But there is so much more to uni than simply going to lectures and writing essays.

It’s a time to really ‘seize the day’ and make the most of the time you have here, because it really will be gone before you know it.

And that’s my over-riding message to you about the whole experience.

I’m really sad that my time here is all but at an end, so I feel like I need to use my position as Digital Student Ambassador to give you my biggest piece of advice yet.

Enjoy it while it lasts.

Scott – Some of my most memorable uni moments

#chooseDerby, #DerbyStudent, Derby Uni, Digital Ambassador Derby, LHSS

When you come to university, it goes without saying that you make a lot of memories along the way.

You’ll find yourself at the centre of stories you’ll remember for the rest of your life, and hear tales from around your campus and beyond of some of the craziest things that you could imagine.

Because uni brings together so many different people from all over the place, there’s no end of things that can and, inevitably, will happen.

As I draw nearer and nearer to the end of my time as a student, I’ve found myself frequently reminiscing on some of the things that have happened during my time in Derby.

So I thought I’d share them here for the amusement of you guys.


1. Coming home to find my flat mate ‘locked out’ of his room, sleeping on the floor

Being a student in his third year at uni, there was obviously going to be the odd drunken tale appearing in this list! This one just happens to crack me up every time I think back to it.

Me and my flat mate were on a night out in Derby in our first year and it was getting on into the early hours of the morning. After not seeing him for a while, I realised that I’d lost him. I couldn’t find him anywhere at all so decided to check my phone. To my surprise, I had a few missed calls and texts from him. I read the texts and they informed me that he’d gone home about half an hour ago but was somehow locked out of his room at Princess Alice Court. Luckily for him, I was just about to head home via a pizza place anyway so I told him not to worry.

untitledI got back into the flat and when the lights came on, I burst out laughing. There, on the floor, curled up in a ball using the oven gloves as a pillow, was my flat mate. Through fits of laughter, I woke him up and asked for his key so I could try his door. I’d just about managed to pull myself together as I tried his door. It was already unlocked, he just couldn’t fathom how to open his door. Upon realising this, he walked into the shower room for some reason. He’d first tried to sleep in there, making a little nest out of his jacket and tshirt and, as he informed me, the oven gloves. I laughed so hard it hurt and I’ve never let him live it down!

2. Meeting my girlfriend

It’s a bit soppy, I know, but this has to the best thing to come out of uni. I have been fortunate enough to meet my wonderful girlfriend here in Derby, and I would never have even knew who she was if I hadn’t decided to come here.

I’m from Leicester and she’s from Gloucester, so we’re from two completely different parts of the country. It’s crazy to think that we would never have met if we both decided to go to different universities, so you can understand why I’m very glad that we both chose to come here!

Being at uni together has allowed us to share all of our experiences and grow up together. Now we’re ready to get our own place, jobs and grow up. I’m getting old!

3. Our TV news days in 2014

As part of my Journalism course, we have to do TV news days. These are where we spend the day putting together a news bulletin as if it was going out on air. So we all have stories that we’ve filmed or partly filmed in preparation for it, and we did some stories on the day as well. They ran for two consecutive days in April after teaching had finished, which could have been seen as a negative, but I enjoyed the days so much that I really didn’t care.

I was the producer on one day and a new reader on the other, and I enjoyed both roles immensely. It was just great to work with all of my class mates on something that really did look very professional and that I’m very proud of to this day. It was really stressful though, that’s the only down side to the whole experience.
4. The first night of freshers

For me, this is one of the best, craziest, strangest nights of my life. After going through the stress of moving my whole life into my room at Princess Alice and slowly getting it the way I wanted it, then saying emotional goodbyes to my parents, I was left alone. I met my flat mates and a few people I’d met on Facebook before I arrived to have a few drinks before we all went into the courtyard to be escorted to the Student Union bar by Residential Assistant (a student who lives in halls who is there to help you out with anything you may need). On the walk to the SU, I met a lot of people and made some new friends, but it was just so bizarre. Everything was new, I had no idea where I was going or what I was doing, I was just aiming to stay in one piece! The SU was extremely busy and packed with fellow first years. I’d never been to a city on a night out before this, so I was a bit blown away!

After a while, me and a lad I’d become friends with got a taxi into town with some people we just happened to bump into and went to a few bars. I imagesXQHNNPWLsaw a friend from home who was a second year at the time and remember saying to her: “This is mad!” It was. I saw people doing some very random things that night and just remember thinking to myself that coming to uni was a great decision. It was a really great night and one I’ll never forget.

5. The accent debate

There’s one conversation that I don’t think anyone hasn’t had at uni: the one about how your accent is different or ‘weird’ to anyone who isn’t from where you are.

Me and my flat mate were once sat in the kitchen having a very long, in depth chat about how different our accents are. We were both naming things to say and see how differently we pronounced them.

He seemed to draw the conclusion that because he’s from Cambridge, his accent is posh and mine was common, or ‘dirty’ as he liked to keep saying. It was a very fun

Scott – Student Loans: You’re not a millionaire so don’t spend like one

#DerbyStudent, Digital Ambassador Derby, LHSS

Before I came to university, I was working eight hours a week and getting paid handsomely for it. I was spending my money without too much caution because there was nothing I really needed to ensure I was paying for, apart from a phone bill once a month.

I wasn’t reckless with my money, far from it actually. I was sitting on a rather tidy amount of wages that I’d saved up over quite a long period of time and was really pleased with it too.

Reading fest 2012 - My last big blow out.

Reading fest 2012 – My last big blow out.

In the months before I came to Derby, there were various expenditures that I couldn’t avoid, such as buying everything I needed to survive at university, but I also went to Reading music festival and had a bit of a blow out there. But why not? It was my last summer before going away to university and I had the money to be able to afford it.

These days of frivolous spending came to an abrupt end when I moved into Princess Alice Court in September three years ago.

If memory serves me well, the rent for my flat came out automatically a few days after I received my student loan three times during my first year, and even after that, I had a sizeable amount of my student loan left.

A lot of people, me included, thought we were in the big leagues because we thought we were loaded! How wrong we were.

I think at one point I had £800 left in my account and thought I would be fine, but still managed to be struggling for money at points.

Things like freshers fortnight, eating out with your new friends, buying key texts and resources for your course all add up to a surprisingly large amount without you even realising it.

Before you know it as well, you’ll have to start looking at student houses for your second year, and we paid the deposit for ours in late December of my first year.

There’s food shops, unexpected expenses like if something breaks, phone bills and anything else you might do that is an extra strain on your bank account.

I saw so many people in my first and second years who were utterly careless with their money and who used their student loan to buy a new wardrobe or fund their three nights out every week.

I’ve seen it again this year in my third year. I live with two other third years, who have learned how to budget their money, and a rather naïve first year.

He wasn’t too foolish with his money at first, and seemed to be heeding our warnings about not giving into temptation and spending too much.

Then, one day, I came home and he told me about the 30 inch TV and big speaker he’d ‘treated himself’ to. Then the next week, he’d brought two new pairs of rather pricey Nikes.

I cast my sceptical eye over his choices, but he assured me he’d be fine.

empty-wallet1Now, he’s really really struggling for money and I can’t help but think that if he hadn’t treated himself so much, that he’d be alright. Instead, he couldn’t even spare £5 to come to watch the football with me and our other flat mates on Tuesday night.

What I’m saying may sound like complete doom and gloom, but what I’m trying to do is warn you and tell you that it doesn’t have to be.

I’ve got myself into a tricky spot with money once, but after doing it, I’m never going to do so again if I can help it.

You just have to be sensible and if you can’t afford it, don’t buy it.

It’s crucial that you budget well and look for ways to save money in everything you do.

If you really want something, but you’re not sure you can afford it, think like this: it’s either a mad shopping spree or food.

I’m not saying you should never treat yourself. Just be wise.

You’ll soon learn that a student loan is great, but it’s not a lifesaver.

You’ve not won the lottery, so don’t spend like you have or you will regret it.

Scott – Finding love at uni

#DerbyStudent, Digital Ambassador Derby

As I walked into the office today, I wasn’t 100% sure what I was going to be blogging about. So, rather stupidly some of you may say, I asked the guys what they thought would make a good topic.

Georgie piped up rather enthusiastically: “Do it on finding love at university because it’s nearly Valentine’s Day!”

I initially thought that it wasn’t a bad idea, but then as I thought more about what I was going to write, I realised that maybe it might be the opposite.

I wouldn’t go as far to say as I’m a total hopeless romantic, but I wouldn’t say that I’m the idealistic Romeo either. I did, however, meet my girlfriend here in Derby, so maybe I can give some advice and share a bit of life experience with you all.

Me and my girlfriend met at a vintage clothing fair at a venue just outside of the city centre. We went along with some friends and we were there for a good part of the day, so we got chatting and were getting along really well.

As clichéd as this may sound, when I first saw her, I was bowled over. I was smitten the whole time and was just trying to put over a good impression of myself and try not to scare her away at the same time!

After the clothing fair, we went to look around the RSPCA animal centre that was close by and had fun seeing all of the animals there, especially a little Labrador puppy called Sunny who we both wanted to take home with us.

I actually did pretty well at this point not to ruin it completely, I must add.

I’m very allergic to cats, and my girlfriend loves them, so obviously, being in the cattery was bitter-sweet for me.

I didn’t want to potentially ruin anything by saying I hate cats or sneezing on her or having to leave, but I was really enjoying spending time with her, so I fought through the pain barrier.

When the day was over, I raced home and added her on Facebook immediately and started pestering, I mean, ‘talking’ to her from then.

We eventually ended up going for a drink and then started seeing each other more and more, and before you knew it, we were an item!

That was all over two years ago now and I’m very happy with our relationship and I’m planning a few little surprises for her this Valentine’s Day.

You may find yourself doing the same thing when Valentine’s Day 2015 rolls around, because it is easier than you might think to fall for someone at uni.

There are people you will see on a very regular basis during your time here, and this can be because of many different reasons.

Some people you will meet by chance, as me and my girlfriend did, and then end up spending loads of time with them from then on.

I have friends who are couples that met when they were living in halls together, so obviously, they saw each other every day.

This also helped them decide that after moving out from halls, that they wanted to get their own place together, which wasn’t a problem seeing as they already knew what living together was like.

They still have heated debates about the house work even now though, I can promise you.

Maybe you’ll end up spending a lot of time with someone on your course, as you’re going to be seeing them an awful lot too.

But the most likely way that you’ll meet someone is probably through seeing a lot of them, no matter how you first meet.

It’s quite a good way to meet actually, as you get to really get to see what your significant other is like in all aspects: cleanliness, cooking skills, everything you need to know going forward in a relationship!

This is probably the best thing about meeting someone at uni, you really get to see the bigger picture with them, and that’s something I don’t think you get a lot before you arrive.

It’s definitely helped me and my girlfriend, as we’ve both got plans in place for once we graduate to start our lives together in Derby and kick off from there: something we’re both really excited about.

So, that’s my happily ever after! I’ll be treating my girlfriend this Valentine’s to some presents and a nice meal out, even if it is booked for the 15th. My 21st birthday on the 13th might mean we have to postpone Valentine’s for a day due to ‘illness’!



Marsha – How to shop on a budget.

#chooseDerby, #DerbyStudent, Derby Uni, Digital Ambassador Derby, LHSS, Marsha C

This week I’m going to talk about maximising the potential of student funding!

Being a student, whether it’s full time or part time, can come with some budgeting difficulties.

Whether you’re a single person, or an individual with a family to support, there are supermarkets that will allow you to maximise your money to its full potential.

Supermarkets such as Sainsbury’s and Tesco, which are considered high end supermarkets, offer products at fairly expensive rates, with no dispute to the quality each of these retailers have to offer. However, supermarkets such as Asda, that constantly has offers, are perfect for the brand junkies amongst us! If you shop at Asda and haven’t already noticed, you will find that you’ll spend more money on items you don’t necessarily need.

DANGER ALERT! Are you really making a saving? Or are you spending for the sake of it? Shopping for the sake of it definitely applies to me. Well, it would be rude to bypass a good bargain!

Retailers, such as Aldi and Lidl, provide relatively good quality products at reduced prices. And some non-perishable goods such as baked beans, pasta (including sauces) and canned vegetables are half the price of what you would pay in the higher end supermarkets, providing the same quality standards.

With regards to fruit and vegetables, Asda and Tesco’s fruit products tend to have a limited shelf life as does all fruit. However, from experience, I have found fruit and veg purchased from a supermarket such as Aldi, tend to last longer and in all honesty taste better; In terms of cost, again much cheaper, with a longer shelf life.

The link below will allow you to view all the products and prices of the most popular supermarkets, enabling you to compare on contrast the basic and branded ranges.

Overall, shopping at supermarkets that offer a cheaper alternative will enable you to maximise your money. Purchasing cheaper products, that mimic branded foods and taste equally as good, or even better is worth a shot.

Go on, give it a try, you might surprise yourself!

If at any point you find you are struggling to finance your needs, please contact our Student Wellbeing Student Money Advice and Rights Team (SMART) on 01332 592000 or you can email, who may be able to offer financial assistance, or provide an alternative.

The Discretionary Support Fund For students that are experiencing financial hardship, there may be additional funding available to you. The Discretionary Support Fund provides individuals with financial assistance, if unforeseen circumstances were to occur, providing a lump sum payment. The amount awarded is based on each student’s individual need and will be calculated accordingly. Applications for the Discretionary Support Fund need to be made via the Student Wellbeing Service, using the contact details above.

I really hope this helps!


Marsha sig