What I Have Learnt from my Undergrad Degree

12:22 PM

I am currently going into my third (and last!) year of my undergraduate degree and realised that there may be some of you out there who are starting university next month! Therefore I decided to give you some tips of things that have helped me and things that haven't worked for me during my time at university, some of you may already do these things and think I'm an idiot for not knowing that but hey we are all here to learn!

1. You do not need to go out and spend £394839439 on textbooks.

Contrary to popular belief you do not need every single textbook that a lecturer mentions or that is on a reading list, you also don't need to buy them brand new either. Ebay is your best friend, always check Ebay for your textbooks as that is generally where you are going to find them the cheapest. You don't even actually have to buy textbooks, libraries exist! And every university will have at least one library, at my university you can even check for the books online without having to go in. Most importantly never buy a textbook in a shop, I guarantee it's cheaper online. Plus you can always sell your textbooks on at the end of the year! Ebay, amazon trade-in and blackwells are all good ideas! But I always put mine on Ebay to help out those in need in the years below me.

2. Printing off the lecture and taking it in with you may actually make you less likely to concentrate.

This may sound a little strange but I'm sure those of you who are in university currently will know what I mean. I'm assuming this is the same with all universities but my lecturers put up a copy of their powerpoint slides before a lecture for you to print off and take in with you so you only have to take notes when they say anything extra, which is great if you have a good attention span... which I don't. What I found works for me is not taking the powerpoint slides in and making notes on all the things I think are important, that way my attention is kept the whole 2 hours of a lecture instead of staring off into space because the lecturer isn't saying anything that I haven't already printed out.

3. Filofax's are your best friend.

When I started university I decided I wanted to get a Filofax. If you don't know what a Filofax is, it's essentially an organiser with a diary in, to do lists etc but it's set as a sort of little ringbinder so you can personalise it to what you want to have inside and then every year you don't have to buy a diary you just have to buy the pages to go inside your filofax! I got mine at the beginning of first year from paperchase (you don't have to get the make filofax you can get a "personal organiser" which is the same thing but a lot cheaper) for £12, I have the A5 size, but there are plenty of different sizes to suit you and loads of different inserts, you can even print off and make your own!

4. Plan ahead for deadlines.

I was incredibly bad at this in first year. From going to college where they tell you when to start and what you should have done by certain times to going to university where you just get given the deadlines for the whole year at the start and then you're on your own... It's pretty difficult to know what the hell to do. I would suggest planning for deadlines, write down in your diary what you're going to get done for each essay/coursework/lab report. So you could say on one day you want to collect all the journal articles, next day you want to have your plan done, whatever works for you, but make sure you plan ahead and don't try to cram it in the week before because it will never be as good!

5. You do not need a trillion textbooks, one for each module is fine.

Generally I would say to buy at least one textbook for every module you have and try to get one that is a broad textbook with lots of topics, for instance my lifesaver in statistics was Discovering Statistics using IBM SPSS Statistics by Andy Field (if you are a Psychology student and don't want to spend money on a load of books, at least get this one, it lasts all three years and will help so much trust me). I would say if you are struggling with what book to get maybe going into a shop, looking at a few textbooks to seeing what may be right for you and then buying it online is the best way to go, I've done that a few times myself. 

6. You don't always need the latest edition of a textbook.

Quite often in textbook lists it will say a certain edition of a book that you need, but if you ask a lecturer you can sometimes have an edition or two before the latest and still be fine which will make the books a lot cheaper so it's definitely worth finding out.

7. Make sure you write down when a lecturer explains a word on a slide or gives more information.

Plenty of times I've been reading back slides and there's been a word which I haven't wrote the meaning to or I haven't wrote the simple explanation for a diagram and have no idea what it's about even if I understood it at the time. So make sure you write down everything you need, you may think you won't forget but trust me, there's a chance you will!

8. Sticky tab notes. Lots of Sticky Tab notes.

I actually didn't discover these until my Auntie bought me them for Christmas in my first year of university in a cute little set with sticky notes. These are a life saver when it comes to textbooks/journals, you can stick the notes on a specific section and write on the notes and they come right off again, perfect if you're loaning a book from a library or want to sell your books on again at the end of the year!

9. When writing essays, write down where you got a piece of information from as you go along.

So many times I will have wrote down a piece of information, it's really good and useful for my essay, I go to write it in and... I can't find the reference. Make sure you write what reference things are from as you go along, don't ever think you will remember, make sure you do it!

There we have it, some tips for those going into university or those that are already there, I hope you found this post useful!


Booktubeathon Wrap-up

1:49 PM

If you don't follow me on Instagram or Goodreads (which you totally should by the way, we can be buddies!) then you won't know how I did with the Booktubeathon! So I decided to write a little wrap-up post for you all! Altogether I managed to finish three books (and three challenges!) which I am pretty proud of as I have quite a short attention span and don't tend to read for hours and hours so was expecting to only finish one book!

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
One of the challenges I wanted to complete was reading someone else's favourite book, I asked the lovely Kelly from Diva Booknerd what her favourite book was and she said Alice in Wonderland! Pictured is the back of the copy I own and I wish this was a poster because its amazing. I gave this book 5/5 stars, I really enjoyed it, it was a lot easier to read than I thought it would be, considering it was written in the 1800's, it's obvious that the book was aimed at children and in my copy there is even a letter from Lewis Carroll to children who are reading the book though I'm unsure if that's in every edition but my edition is called the Puffin Chalk Classic. Thank you Kelly for suggesting this!

Why am I scared of Everything by Bethany Straker
I have owned this book for a while now and it was kindly sent to me by the lovely author, Bethany Straker, herself. She does all the illustrations in the book as well as the writing which is amazing! This book surrounds anxiety and the thoughts that people with anxiety have on a daily basis, each page has an illustration and topic of worry that it talks about. This made me laugh a lot as well as also made me feel comforted as it made me feel less alone, knowing that other people have these kind of worries as well. This is a perfect book for people with anxiety and for people who generally worry, though I would suggest for everyone to pick this up because I guarantee you have thought about some of these at least once in your life! I gave this book 5/5 stars and this completed the challenge of reading a book with blue on the cover.

Aphorisms on Love and Hate by Friedrich Nietzsche
I own three of the Little Black classics books, if you haven't heard of these they are penguins 80p short classics by tons of authors, a great way to introduce you to an author, great little gifts, I just love them. I have always wanted to read some Nietzsche and I own his book called Beyond Good and evil but was a little reluctant to read it as I wasn't sure what his writing was like or if it was easy to understand. It's actually suprisingly easy, he broke up the topic into paragraphs so you know when hes changing what he's talking about, he writes almost as though he's sat infront of you explaining it, which I love. I really enjoyed this book it was very interesting and a great introduction to Nietzsche. I gave this 4/5 stars and this completed the challenge of not letting go of a book!

I hope you enjoyed my wrap-up! I'd love to know how you did in the booktubeathon and whether you have read any of these books.


Booktubeathon TBR

11:21 PM

If you haven't already seen over on my Instagram, then I am taking part in the booktubeathon this year! I have taken part every year since I knew it existed and last year I managed to finish three books, therefore I would like to beat that goal this year! I have given myself a TBR pile of 6 books and am going to be adding a 7th, if I get round to it, depending upon what I feel like at the time. 

For those of you who don't know about the booktubeathon you can head on over to their Youtube Channel or Twitter for more information, but this starts on midnight August 3rd of your own timezone and as this is approximately 40 minutes away for me, I thought that I would share with you what I plan on reading. I have chosen these books based on the challenges that have been set for this years booktubeathon! 

1. A Book with Blue on the Cover: Why Am I Scared of Everything by Bethany Straker
For this one I went for a book which I have read a couple of pages from and that is Why Am I Scared of Everything by Bethany Straker, this is a funny and helpful book which has been very comforting to me in my reading so far, beautifully illustrated by the author herself. This book is based upon anxiety, each page being a different worry from day to day life, so far I've really enjoyed it so I can't wait to dive into the rest of this one!

2. An Author who Shares The Same First Letter Of Your Last Name: Miss Peregrines Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
I decided to stick with a book which I was supposed to finish for the TBR Takedown but only managed to finish one book *fail* and that is Miss Peregrines Home for Peculiar Children, I am forever bombarded with reviews of this on booktube and they have been insanely positive ones, therefore I am very excited to read this really creepy and intriguing book. For those of you who haven't come across this, the concept of the book is an unusual one, it is based around old creepy photos that the author has collected and written a story around, weird huh?

3. Someone Else's Favourite Book: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
For this one I asked for the assistance of the lovely Kelly from Diva Book Nerd and asked her to tell me her favourite book! She said her favourite book is Alice in Wonderland, so I grabbed my incredibly gorgeous copy and stuck in on my TBR pile, I'm looking forward to reading this as I have never read it in its entirety and the parts I have read were from when I was very little, about time it was revisited!

4. Last Book you Aquired: Violated by Sarah Wilson
Easy pick. Was the last book I bought, have been into wanting to read real life stories of some quite sensitive and difficult topics, seeing as I am interested in Psychology I am interested to know how these negative experiences affect and shape people as a person. Look forward to checking this one out as it is definitely a new genre that I am exploring.

5. Finish a book without Letting Go of it: Aphorisms on Love and Hate by Friedrich Nietzsche
Yes, I picked a really tiny one, but in my defense, I have such a short attention span that I will definitely have to pick this one, I know that I could take it around with me but I have a feeling if I do this I'll end up accidentally putting the book down, plus I've wanted to try out some Nietzsche!

6. Book You Really Want to Read: American Psycho by Brett Easton Ellis
I simply thought to myself, what book do I really want to read right now? And American Psycho is the first one that came into my head!

7. Read 7 Books.
This is a sort of to be announced book, as this will only be chosen if I finish the other 6 and will depend upon my mood at the time.

I feel like I am being incredibly ambitious again with this TBR pile but I prefer to be ambitious than underestimate my reading. Is anyone taking part? What is your TBR pile?