Spending a semester abroad to study is an incredible opportunity that can change your life. It’s important to be aware of certain mistakes people make so that you can avoid them and make sure that your time abroad is as rewarding and exciting as it can be.
If you’re a new student, chances are you’ve already experienced the sweet satisfaction that comes with seeing your bank account filled to the brim when your Student Loan arrives.
It may seem like a lot at the time, and the temptation to live like a king and blow it all on pizza/alcohol/Netflix subscriptions may be irresistible. Don’t worry, we’ve all been there.
But, if budgeting isn’t your strong suit and you find yourself short on funds, or if your Student Loan doesn’t quite cover your living costs, you may decide to also pick up part-time work while you’re studying.
A wise move. After all, even if you don’t think you need it, a little extra cash to burn never hurt, right?
If you are looking for part-time work, there are plenty of websites out there to find the job that works for you.
Procrastination can be a serious productivity killer. It can get you into all sorts of deadline troubles, leading to frantic keyboard tapping and energy drink fuelled all-nighters.
It’s not just you – besides the most diligent and proactive of us, we’re pretty much all in this together. Picture the High School Musical number, except none of us want to dance right now. Maybe later.
So when the Independent reported on a uni student who blitzed through her dissertation project in a single night, mere hours before her deadline, we can’t say we weren’t a bit awe-struck.
And incredibly stressed on her behalf. But still. Impressive.
Everyone loves Matilda, right? Whether it’s Quentin Blake’s iconic illustrations and the heart-warming tale of Danny DeVito and Mara Wilson (now a Twitter icon, honestly…)’s unbeatable Hollywood depictions, Roald Dahl’s creation is a timeless classic.
Not to mention we’re always here for a strong female protagonist. With vigilante magic. But we digress.
Two Manchester-based parents are advertising through a freelance tutoring service to find a tutor willing to dress and act the part of the unforgettable Miss Honey, Matilda’s sweet, nurturing schoolteacher to tutor their daughter.
We talk a lot about gap years, we know. And what does that actually entail, bathing baby elephants in your brightly patterned harem pants? Volunteering your time to dig out wells, or teach disadvantaged children?
Sure, if that’s your idea of a dream year out. Go for it. But don’t worry too much about matching the stereotypes.
A year out is whatever the hell you want to make of it. Travelling and volunteering are two popular avenues, of course. Chances are you’re young and not tied down with any scary responsibilities like a mortgage and steady 9-5, why wouldn’t you go see the world?
Here at Push, we can’t celebrate our differences enough. It’s what makes us all so interesting, able to see the world in new, abstract ways to solve all sorts of problems, and to come together as strong, diverse teams.
A world full of identical people with identical thoughts is, well, not worth thinking about.
Want us to put our money where our mouth is? Head to our YouTube channel for a quick-fire rundown from Ben, one of our presenters—he talks about making the most of your individuality and quirks, and discusses how he turned his dyslexia into an award-winning strength.
But we get it. Sometimes, the world isn’t always geared up to help and support differences.
You’ve done it. You made it through two years of intensive studies, coursework, endless revision, and one hell of an exam period. Go you!
This week, it’s finally time to reap the rewards.
If everything goes to plan, you’ll wind up with the grades you were hoping for and everything will be hunky dory. Party time. On with the plan, whether that be heading to uni, taking an apprenticeship, heading out on a gap year or going into work.
So the weather might not still be living up to the full promise of Summer, but the freedom must still be tasting sweet.
We’re not suggesting you bog yourself down worrying about the waning August days and the darkening evenings, but it’s a good idea to start getting serious about what year 13 holds for you.
It might still seem far off, but if you’re planning on going to uni in 2020, things are going to start moving at light speed. We’re talking open days and summer schools, personal statements, UCAS applications, student finance, interviews, offers, accommodation…
This third and final part starts with the end: my concluding message to young people: listen to others openly and impartially about their varying experiences after school - of higher education routes and non-higher education routes. Understand you have a choice, more than you realise, and that all anyone else can do is offer you advice and never tell you which choice is 'best', because best is something only you can decide...because no one is inside your own head and feels the way you feel when placed in different environments with different people doing different activities (place and people will affect your choices more than you know).
So, you want to go to uni next year? Great, exams are out of the way and there’s nothing more you can do on that front.
And sure, you should be out enjoying your last summer of pure, unadulterated freedom. But now you’ve got a prime opportunity to give yourself a head-start by prepping for the year ahead.
Maybe think about thinking about creating a budget. It doesn’t matter if you have no idea what you’re doing. It doesn’t matter if you’d rather have your teeth pulled than check your bank statement. The important thing is to know where you stand so that you can plan ahead.
And that means no nasty surprises, you savvy, forward-thinker, you.
Wherever you are, school’s pretty much out for Summer now. You might have another week or so, but no one really does anything with that time anyway. You’re on the home stretch.
So, how are you going to max out your time off?
First thing’s first: relax. Yeah, you heard us. You won’t get many more opportunities in life to bliss out quite like this. Sure, there are some big decisions looming, and maybe some important exams in the not so distant future, but that’s tomorrow’s problem. Today’s for chilling.
Tomorrow though… it might be a good time to start looking for some part-time work to keep yourself busy.
You’ve got the next six weeks of freedom ahead of you – use it wisely! Whether you’re thinking of going away to uni, taking an apprenticeship or just getting your own place sometime soon, learning to cook is an incredible life skill.
Trust us, the instant noodles get old real quick. (And we’re not talking expiry dates. Monosodium Glutamate will outlast us all.)
So now that you’ve got the time, why not learn something new? This summer is a great opportunity to help out in the kitchen, learn some recipes and techniques, and test drive a few dishes.
Nothing is safe in the digital age, and recruitment is no exception. Gone are the days where employers rely solely on face-to-face traditional interviews.
Now you’ve got phone interviews, conference calls, Skype interviews, online or virtual aptitude tests and cognitive tasks.
So, how do you prepare?
Getting a job, apprenticeship or a place at your dream uni might seem like pretty terrifying concepts right now, but they don’t have to be.
You might think you have no skills and a dire CV or personal statement, but you’re completely wrong.
Everyone’s got something that will wow employers and admissions tutors, whether it’s dedication, time management and people skills earned from a weekend shop job or paper round, or sacrifice, compassion and maturity from being a carer to younger siblings or family members.
The sun’s (sort of) shining, but September is going to roll around quicker than you think. So if you’re moving away from home, start to consider who you might want to live with in the next academic year.
Going to uni for the first time?
If you’re moving into halls as a fresher, no need to worry about picking a roommate. That’s all done for you.
Granted, they may not be your dream roomie – most unis try to at least do some sort of compatibility matching when they lump people in together, but it’s rudimentary at best and no one expects everyone in a flat or hall to be besties.
Here at Push, we’re real advocates for mental health awareness and support. Just check out our website for bundles of content on everything from looking after yourself at uni to understanding the science behind mental wellness, and the benefits of taking the reins and knowing what you want from life.
We’re even here to help when it comes to what you should look for at uni, college, or work in terms of inclusive environments and mental health support.
Might sound like we’re banging on a bit, but this stuff really does matter.
I was always passionate about scuba diving and even considered joining the Royal Navy (my dad and granddad used to do a lot of UK scallop diving in Dorset), but this idea was talked down quickly in my school not by words, but through a lack of them: if I mentioned them, no one really knew how to respond to it so just politely smiled and nodded. It was the same when I had the idea of applying to drama school. I ended up choosing from a choice that wasn't mine: filling out my UCAS form and narrowing the choices down to Nottingham University and Queen Mary University of London. I at least chose London because of the wider pull of the city.
More on that in part 3. Coming up next month..
So exams are pretty much done and dusted if you’re in Year 13. Good job, pats on the back all round. If uni’s not immediately (or ever) on the cards for you, then now’s a great time to think about how to invest in yourself over the next year of sweet, sweet freedom.
The idea of a gap year might have been bounced around, but what is it really like? Who can do it? Is it a good idea? Thankfully, Push is here to help with a few good old FAQs.
90% of apprentices in England stayed on in employment after completing their qualification; 71% with the same employer (so says the Government). That's great news, but if you're considering degree-level apprenticeships at a college or a university (yes really), you'll need to know the realities of them. In short, they are just like level 3 (advanced) apprenticeships: quality of skills on offer, healthy balance between course/work, wage paid and no guarantee of a full-time job at the end of the course.
There's 3 other factors that are huge, which the company funding the apprenticeship will rarely mention, particularly for apprenticeships at degree level: the brutal level of competition, the ease of access from you geographically, and most importantly of all: your genuine level of passion for what they offer (a mix of your curiosity, attitude, what you want from life, and your motivation).
It’s come out from an OECD report into cyber related bullying that out of all the highly developed countries investigated, England has the highest rate of cyber bullying and social media misuse in its schools. Which is a pretty nasty stat.
The study looked at ‘the experiences of more than 250,000 teachers in 48 industrialised countries and regions’ and found a serious problem with the UK.
Uni, uni, uni. Might seem like that’s all we (or anyone around you for that matter) are talking about right now is going to uni. But that doesn’t mean it’s the right answer.
There’s no one post-18 path to rule them all. Think apprenticeships, degree apprenticeships, work and jetsetting, for starters.
We’re not saying you can blow the next three months on Netflix binges and house parties though. Put your hands in the air and step away from the aux.
If you're heading to uni, in just about three months’ time you'll be packing up your life to continue it somewhere else for the next three plus years. The weeks between getting your results and starting term scoot by and unis start allocating their housing the moment the grades are out.
There are four basic housing choices for students – living at home, living in, living out or private halls.
With this year's coursework and exams pretty much behind you, you'll be pleased to know that uni isn't all about books, lectures and exams.
We all know students get up to other stuff, right? And this other stuff is important when it comes to getting the most out of the whole university experience.
Different people have different ideas of fun, though - so when you're picking a uni take a look at what the local area offers.
The first thing I was told in my sixth form wasn't "do you want to go to university?" it was "ok everyone, here's the date when we'll be prepping your UCAS forms." At the time, this all felt completely normal, because you don't question what you don't know. And for most of the less-brave of us, from figures of authority. No one on the Taylor side of my family had ever undertaken an education course past the age of 18, which didn't help when being told "here's the university application form. Let's fill it out".
Sometimes it might feel (rightly so, often) that our favourite tech is holding us back when it comes to coursework productivity or exam periods.
Go on, try to tell us you’ve never thought “I could work on Algebra, or I could check Insta stories…” or “I should really do this Physics past paper as exam prep, but after just one more episode of Game of Thrones…”
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