This one is mostly for the Freshers who will be joining us in September! I present to you the Aber Bucket List: Things you must do before your first year is over. (Or rather things you might like to do. No pressure!)

  • Go on a night out in a onesie: There is nothing quite like dancing to heavy techno whilst dressed like a toddler.
  • Stay up all night and watch the sun coming up from the top of Consti. The world is amazing and you will feel like the only person left in it for a few brief moments.
  • Go star gazing at the Castle Ruins. Pick a clear night and you will see everything.
  • Order £300 worth of Pizza from Dominos and only pay thirty quid for it. Be cunning with your Freshers’ vouchers.
  • Have a Death Star in The Cambrian: Words cannot describe this drink. It will ruin you.
  • Go to an Open Mic night at Rummers. Some seriously good local musicians for free! (And have a go yourself if you feel so inclined.)
  • Jump in the sea with your clothes on. (Everyone does it. Just maybe not in January or during a storm? Stay safe guys.)
  • Attempt to eat: The Hulk Burger from Lord Beechings and The Big Breakfast from the Station Cafe. (Not on the same day!) You’re young, you have your whole lives ahead of you to burn off the calories.
  • Spend all night in Yokos, Pier and The Angel and toddle home as it is getting light.
  • Go to the War Memorial and pay your respects. Some of the guys on there were the same age as you and were students at the University. They gave their today for your tomorrow.
  • Pull an all nighter in Rosser Lounge (especially if you are doing Interpol!)
  • University is the only time after your fifth birthday where it is acceptable to go out dressed as your favourite superhero in the day time. DO NOT waste this opportunity.
  • Walk to Borth by the coast path.
  • Take a train to Dovey Junction. (For no other reason than you can!)
  • Take the Funicular Railway up Consti, stand in the front, you will feel like a Bond Villain.
  • Have an Ice Cream Milkshake from Sophie’s. (They make almost everything better.)
  • Chocolate & Churros from Ultracomida (’nuff said.)
  • Have a bonfire on the Beach. (Attempt to make a sandcastle as well.)

My most prominent memory of my first open day at Aberystwyth was the fact that I wanted to be anywhere except the actual open day. It was my first visit to a university and I was not prepared for the year ahead of me (emotionally, that is); leaving home, leaving my friends and school etc etc but worse than this was the prospect of having to pack up my belongings- of which there are a lot of- and fit them into a box that I would then move to another box in which I would live and work for a whole year. The open day wasn’t as exciting for me as it was nerve wrecking- I had to pick the right box!

My second memory of the open day was that I didn’t want to leave my hotel. Ironically before visiting the university I was not a fan of the seaside, but my stay at the Glen Gower hotel on the front soothed my worries. Our view was amazing and the food was great but clouding this was the fact that I would soon be closer to this hotel than I would be my parents, and as adult as you feel entering college or sixth form the fear of change and longing for home never really leaves you.

It was a pain trying to get into the university- we had never driven up Penglais Hill and the road was heaving with parents and student alike trying to enter the turning for Aberystwyth University and not accidentally turning into the National Library or Pantycelyn. It was our fault (or my fault) for leaving it too late in the day to attend introductory lectures and tour the campus, so my first tip for anyone attending their first open day would be that the early bird gets the worm! The earlier you are the better seats you get, the longer you have to explore the university and talk to the current students.

When we eventually nabbed one of the students in yellow t shirts to give us directions my parents and I arrived at A12 in the Hugh Owen Building for the introductory English Literature lecture with Mike Smith. My second tip would be to not compare yourself to other students!  I learnt this this hard way in that lecture; a boy in front of me was explaining to his mother that he had basically read every book on the modules and had met most of the lecturers that day. It was very difficult focusing on the lecture when all I could think was how I would be completely unprepared academically for university and that everyone else would outshine me (the truth of the matter is that in a lecture hall filled with hundreds of students, no one can stand out. University is the most independent and individually focused place that you could find yourself- no one is comparing you to anyone else, so there’s no point in you comparing yourself to strangers. Everyone is in the same boat.)  At the same time a boy behind me had to leave halfway through the lecture because, as I believe he tried whispering to his mother ‘I can’t even stick this lecture, how can I stick three years of this’. Although honest (and a tiny bit rude) the boys departure made me reconsider my position in that room amongst all of the other prospective students. I had managed to find one of the only courses in Britain that tailored to my every need. I may not have been previously acquainted with the books prior to starting the course, but to me the whole point of further education was to introduce me to subjects that I hadn’t yet explored. It also offered a joint honours programme that combined English Literature and Film Studies, which I was desperate to pursue.  In that sense I was very lucky. Unlike the boy who left the lecture hall early, I would advise you to attend and sit through as many introductory lectures as you can because they may present you with opportunities that you hadn’t come across in the prospectus or on the university website. It also gives you a glimpse of how you will be taught over the next three years. Luckily for me I could listen to Mike Smith’s lectures all day, particularly his ones on Shakespeare. He is a very good lecturer!

When we left the lecture hall my parents insisted that we visit the university accommodation. Aberystwyth University allows students to take you around the accommodation so that you can listen to the opinions of people who had actually lived there. I can’t remember the reason why we didn’t attend any of these tours but in a way I am grateful that I hadn’t. I was eventually placed in Pantycelyn Halls of Residence, which is primarily the Welsh Speakers Halls of Residence.  A friend of mine had been on the tour and had expressed his dislike for Pantycelyn when we discussed the possibility of my living there. Although if I’m honest none of my friends had any real liking towards Aberystwyth, which made me question whether it was the place for me or if I should aim for the universities at the top of the league tables. This brings me on to my third tip: go with your gut! I cannot imagine what my life would have been like had I buckled under the pressure of other peoples opinions and attended a different university.  I can’t imagine not knowing any of the friends I had made in Pantycelyn, I can’t imagine not having worked in Siop y Pethe or catching a glimpse of the coast walking to my lectures.  Looking back, the best thing I did on my open day was to forgot to attend the accommodation tour. If I had I probably would have declined my offer to live in Pantycelyn  and chosen accommodation that  looked a bit fancier or was the most popular among students.  I have another blog planned where I discuss Pantycelyn but for now all I will say is that I was placed in a perfectly situated box.

My fourth tip would be… DON’T PANIC! All of the decisions you’ve made in the months leading up to the start of the academic year aren’t necessarily permanent. If you are uncomfortable in your accommodation there is always the option to move residency; if you aren’t enjoying your course there is a period of time where you can discuss the option of changing modules or courses; if you really dislike the university and it turned out to be nothing like you thought it would be on the open day then you can always try again next year. But my fifth and final piece of advise is that you give it a chance. On my open day I was walking around with the opinions of other people weighing me down and even when I was making the long drive with my family on the day I moved here, I still had those voiced in my head telling me that I was unprepared and that my accommodation would be terrible and I promised myself that if I wasn’t 100% happy in the first two weeks of living in Aberystwyth I would drop out and try again next year. Two years later I am embarking on my third and final year at what everyone else told me would be the worst choice I had made, when actually it was the best place for me to be. All I had to do was filter all of the voices in my head until it was just mine left, because it is your opinion that matters at the end of the day.

So if anyone is reading this and planning to visit any open days just remember to be as selfish as you possibly can, because you are the one who will have to walk the university halls and streets of this new town and if your gut is telling you that the place is alright and the course is interesting, don’t let anyone else spoil what could be the best decision you’ve ever made.

Bank Holiday weekend is here in Aber and I have my mate Richard visiting. Today (Sunday) we climbed Cadair Idris, which is a short drive up the road (About 40 minutes.) My knees no longer work and Richard is currently stretched out on the kitchen sofa with a glass of wine like Ophelia. In typical Bank Holiday style, the weather was atrocious and I am currently stuck with a large bag of seething, wet, sweaty kit that is going to need a trip to the laundrette to deal with. Accompanying us on this mountain mission was my friend Tommy. We may have got a bit lost in the mist that descended upon us. Fortunately we were well equipped with a map and compass and the skills to use them so we managed to get down safely. Cadair Idris is a mountain of legend. it is said that if you stay the night up on the mountain you will either go mad, become a genius or a poet. I decided not to risk it as I feel the only thing on offer today might have been a bad cold.

Tomorrow, weather permitting, we are going up Consti to look at the Camera Obscura and possibly have ice cream.

Things are winding down for most people here at Aber, but for postgrads like myself the fun is only just starting. I have another nearly four months of my course left and a dissertation to do. I was notified of who my tutor will be and I have my first meeting on Tuesday. All that stands between me and my Masters is a two hour screenplay. In preparation for this summer of writing up I have now got somewhere to live and have applied for a few jobs. Fingers crossed but I am fairly confident and excited about the whole thing.

The week has otherwise been fairly quiet, with a string of farewells, some forever, some only until September. There has been some lovely weather and an ice cream hunt. (Not that ice cream is difficult to obtain in Aber, you understand, it’s just we were looking for something quite particular.)

There is now just two weeks of this term left to go. This time last year I was watching as the excitement grew for myself and my fellow students. We were all preparing to leave home and come to Aber for the first time. We had no idea what to expect. We all had ideas. We all had our doubts. We all came in spite of those. And now some of us are Poets, some are on their way to becoming geniuses and some, like me, are just mad old men with a blue box (well actually a Leopard). But we all climbed the mountain. And even with zero visibility, the view was worth every bit of the effort.

Not just a Timeleopard...
Not just a Timeleopard…
Me and the slinky ginger goat that is Tommy!
Me and the slinky ginger goat that is Tommy!
Genius/ Madman/ Poet unable to say anything that can be repeated here.
Genius/ Madman/ Poet unable to say anything that can be repeated here.

007

 

Hey guys,

So this week has been the completion of all things university. The last exam has been sat, the last birthday has been celebrated and the last Domino’s pizza has been ordered.

On Wednesday I went on this massive trip with Innovis (my job after university) to Cumbria to attend a meeting with all sales reps and key members of staff. We went from Aberystwyth in a mini bus at 5am in the morning, and I arrived back in Aber at 11pm that evening… a long day! It was really good going in the mini bus because it meant I got to know some of the members of staff better as the radio was broken and we had to talk a lot of the way. I think there are certain moments when you know whether or not you are going to get on with certain people, and that definitely occurred when the boss decided that as the bus was quiet we had to play i-spy; I know I am going to love working for this company. Meeting those members of the team that I hadn’t met previously was a bit daunting, but after we had started talking it became easier to feel confident and I was able to give opinions and ideas without feeling awkward. On the way back we stopped off for dinner in McDonalds and the boss decided that we all needed pudding as well so insisted we all had McFlurrys, again cementing the fact I am going to enjoy working with the team!

Thursday onwards was all about Atebol and revision. This project I have been working on with Atebol is reaching its conclusion as the book series is launched next Friday (30th May) and therefore there have been a few loose ends that have needed tidying up. I am really looking forward to the launch on the 30th at the Hay Festival and meeting Paralympian Josie Pearson and World-record-holding Adventurer Maria Leijerstam! I think it will be the highlight of my time at Atebol! Plus, I get to look after both of them throughout the day, meaning I can really get to know them, how cool is that?!

So, as the weekend arrived it was time for revision, and lots of it! My exam was on Tuesday afternoon and as it was the last exam I know what percentage I had to achieve to get my first overall, making it even more nerve-wracking! The exam went okay, could have gone better, but could have gone worse, but it was over, meaning Tuesday night could be spent celebrating the end of exams and my housemate Liam’s 21st birthday!

I made cake… lots of cake, and there is still a bit left now! It was a good night out, and I made sure I spent it with the boys as Liam was the birthday boy! Which involved a few games of pool before heading to the club, rather than dancing the night away!

It is strange that university is over with but I really cannot wait to move into my new flat and face my next challenge!

X

P.s. entered the race for life spontaneously this week too! Was really fun and a really worthy cause, will definitely do it again next year, I will have to beat my time!! AND we were in the Cambrian news for doing it! http://www.cambrian-news.co.uk/pictures/n_n23/41/?product_start#

Hi there!

I had a lovely quiet time last weekend, relaxing on Saturday, spending a chilled out day with Fiancé on Easter Sunday and enjoying a spectacular roast dinner. I gave myself the whole weekend off working following essay-completion – but on Monday, it had to be back to working on my Writing Project!

I’ve discovered a trick to motivation through a whole day on the computer, at a desk or in the library: good food. I’ve been persuading myself to get up by planning exciting breakfasts – like a sesame seeded bagel with cream cheese and raspberries. Omnomnomnomnom. Little things, little things.

Yesterday, Wednesday 23rd April was an exciting day for me – as well as being Shakespeare’s 450th Birthday, it was World Book Night. I was an official giver, and went along the seafront in town giving out my World Book Night editions of Adele Parks’ Whatever It Takes. I love World Book Night, and this is the second year I’ve taken part – you can find more info here on their website, and here on my own personal blog.

The books I gave out on 23rd April, World Book Night 2014
The books I gave out on 23rd April, World Book Night 2014

My driving lessons are going well too – I’ve had 6 lessons already, and I’ve got two hours more on Saturday. I’m relieved to have found I’m not just learning because I need to be able to drive – actually, I am enjoying driving, which makes it much easier to learn! I think putting off learning til 21 actually worked for me, as I’m much more interested now than I was at 17. Aber is a good place for mastering hill starts too! 😉

Hope you are all well and enjoying / have enjoyed your Easter breaks!

Hey guys,

So as I am coming to the end of my journey at Aberystwyth Uni I thought I would look back and highlight my top ten things about being at Aberystwyth University, so that hopefully when you lovely people start your journey’s at university you will know exactly what to look forward to!

So, in no particular order…

  1. The people. Everybody in Aberystwyth is so friendly and I have made some of the best friends whilst being at University.  I cannot describe how lucky I feel to have come to Aberystwyth University and met the people who have become my friends from all different walks of life. I know that many of the friends I have made will continue to be my friends for many years to come.
  2. 1395355_10151593149967574_2096834308_nThe nights out. Aberystwyth is one of the best nights out, and because it is such a small place you always bump into people you know and have some of the most unexpected and brilliant nights out. I have always seen Aberystwyth as one of the safest places, and therefore I have always felt completely comfortable being out and walking home on my own and things like that, meaning nights out are always great!
  3. The university course. I consider myself very lucky to have chosen my course first time and love every minute of it. For some people it may take a change in course or university to find something they really enjoy doing, but I have loved my course. Of course, there are some down sides, as there are to most things I life, however it has been a thoroughly positive experience and if I were to choose again I would choose exactly the same course at exactly the same university.534330_458702964170497_1590402868_n
  4. The social life. Besides the nights out, the social life at Aberystwyth has been one of the main positives at being at the university. The pub quizzes, bbq’s down the beach and popping round friends’ houses really make the university experience great.
  5. The sunsets. Aberystwyth has some of the most fabulous sunsets and it is great to just wander down to the sea front or up constitution hill and watch the sun go down (in a coat most of the year!).
  6. The beach. We are very lucky to have the beach in Aber and popping down there for a beach bbq with friends, bonfire, 0r just lying on

522564_10151060456570864_1445599310_nthe beach in the sunshine is a great way to relax. Every revision period in April/May I have gone down to the beach in the sunshine and revised, and it is the best way to revise. You can hear the sea and feel the sun on you whilst revising away, and sometimes even pop for an ice cream!r just lying on

7. The cafes and restaurants. There are so many cafes and restaurants in Aber, and I have lost count how many times I have popped out for breakfast, lunch or dinner with friends! Especially after a night out, if a group of you pop out for the breakfast the next day it is brilliant to catch up on what happened to everybody the night before and begin to nurse those hangovers!

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8. The opportunities. I have had so many opportunities whilst I have been at uni, from national business competitions, to pitching in Cardiff to the chartered institute of marketers in the Senedd! Too many opportunities to mention, and I am sure it is these opportunities that have allowed me to gain a great degree and a full time job upon my completion at the university.

9. The scenery and location. Not only does Aber have the beach, constitution hill and just great coastline, but just a short distance outside of Aber there are so many things to do and places to go, that you have to explore and walk, walk, walk!

10. The university! Whatever department, and whatever I have been involved in I have felt comfortable and safe and enjoyed every second of it. I have worked for the university and attended the university and I have enjoyed every aspect , it is the employees and the people that really make the university.

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So there we go, a quick snapshot of my top ten things about Aber university! Hopefully if you guys come to Aber you’ll create your list of ten when your close to finishing!

I can’t believe my three years are nearly over at Aberystwyth university, it feels like I started yesterday! It has been the best three years of my life so far, and if I were to do everything over I would do it all exactly the same again! You can’t say that about many things!

Until next week

X

Reasons I love Aberystwyth. There are many. So many.

For starters, I will state the very obvious.

It looks

from the arts centre

 

like

by the lighthouse

this.

sunset on the beach

It is a beautiful place to live. Even when I’m working hard over an essay, this is the view outside my window:
view

But looking pretty is far from the most compelling reason I chose Aber as my home-from-home. There is a wonderful community surrounding the University, and lovely people in the town. The Arts Centre is a great community hub  where people connect and there’s always an interesting exhibit to peruse, a new film to see, exciting theatre to experience.

Be it glorious sunshine or battering storms, the weather is also something I love about living here – it’s a rural area on a powerful coast, and even when the weather brings devastation in its wake, the community here rises up and works together to stitch it back together.

For me, Aberystwyth is where I’ve learned to be independent, and is the place my wedding will be ‘themed’ around – since it’s where fiancé and I met!

20131230_201409I love spending evenings out, with a couple of drinks and watching friends play pool, and feeling a part of the town.

And as if I needed more reasons to love it here – occasionally, the TARDIS turns up, with K9 and a Dalek!
tardis and me tardis by the arts centre

aberystwyth rail poster